“The British judiciary system would need to test its independence after the US appeal, Konstantin Kosachev noted“
I’m going to share this TASS report in full here because I think the piece offers a fair and reasonable assessment of the situation around the recent UK court ruling on the US push for extradition of Australian Julian Assange on the basis of false and unprincipled espionage charges.
I would add that Assange is probably better off being in a UK jail than here in his home Australia where he would receive even less government support than the zero effort of the UK government and both they and the courts are probably even less principled and independent than UK courts.
MOSCOW, January 4. /TASS/. Chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev has said that the London court’s ruling blocking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States is worthy of the system of independent justice, but the British judiciary system would need to test its independence after the US appeal.
“The fact that Assange was not to be extradited is generally a ruling worthy of a system of independent justice, in this case British justice. Frankly speaking, the judge’s reason, who merely refers to Assange’s suicidal inclinations, seems a bit odd. To my mind, the UK, as a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, should have referred to the impossibility of defendants’ extraditions to the countries that use the death penalty, which is to the United States,” Kosachev told reporters on Monday.
Nevertheless, the Russian senator assumed that the ruling is likely to be appealed by the US.
“And in this case the reasons like ‘we will for sure keep Assange from committing a suicide’ will come into play. It means that today’s ruling is subject to legal challenge, demagogic dilution and political pressure. I suspect, by referring to the Anglo-Saxon fellowship. And how independent British justice will eventually prove to be is yet to be seen by all of us,” he says.
In Monday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the US as there was a serious risk to his life. The judge said that the WikiLeaks founder suffered from severe depression, had been diagnosed with autism and was at a risk of killing himself. According to Baraitser, his condition is likely to seriously deteriorate under conditions of solitary confinement in the US.
The US Department of Justice has indicted the WikiLeaks founder on 18 criminal charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in jail. The charges against Assange are related to the largest leak of classified information in the US history.
The US government said it would appeal the decision, which means that the case of the 49-year-old Australian is likely to drag on for years.