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Is Assange right to fear US persecution?
Is Assange right to fear US persecution?
The case of Julian Assange and his being granted asylum initially seems to have little to do with the United States and fears of persecutionh. While he is the face of Wikileaks the case that he has been fighting in Britain has been nothing to do with this involvement. Instead the charges he has been fighting have been sex charges and he has been fighting to prevent extradition from the UK to Sweden.
Yet part of the reason that Assange is fighting extradition is because he fears that he is sent to Sweden he will then be handed over to the US. Then when in the US he fears that he may be executed or else persecuted similarly to Bradley Manning, the US Army Soldier who gave the documents that were leaked to wikileaks, who was in solitary confinement for a year. Manning's treatment has been condemned as inhumane and Assange is perhaps right to fear his treatment if ever sent to the United States.
It does however seem slightly odd that there should be more worries about Sweden being willing to hand him over than the UK. The UK after all quite regularly extradites people to the United States when there is very little evidence. It is also probably incorrect that Assange has anything to fear from the death penalty as neither the UK or Sweden would be able to extradite without guarantees that it would not be sought.
Now that Assange is in an Ecuadorian embassy and has been granted asylum Assanges fears may be moot. He does however face the problem of how to get out; the UK is not going to let him go to heathrow to fly out of the country and indeed has threatened to cancel diplomatic immunity in order to arrest him. This itself would be a worrying development - especially for diplomats. It would create a precedent that other countries could point to to give justification to storm others embassies so threatening the whole concept of diplomatic immunity.
39 weeks 5 days ago
Julian Assange is correct to fear persecution by the US. The state is willingly choosing to punish the principles of free speech and democracy. Bradley Manning was charged under violations of the Espionage Act, when he was attempted to encourage government transparency and whistleblowing practices that violate numerous laws. He was then held in conditions that violated the Torture Convention, and other human rights laws. If the messenger of government information received that kind of treatment- what is going to happen to the guy who wanted to share that information with the world? Nothing good could possible happen.
One could argue that because Bradley Manning is a US citizen and a part of the military his treatment is different than what a foreign civilian would be subjected to. Even if that is the case, the US has such gross human rights violations in terms of justice and prison conditions, including they still practice the death penalty as a form of punishment. Assange cannot be sent to a state that he will face the possibility of death for his crimes as he comes from a state that does not practice the death penalty.
Assange faces the real possibility of either being subjected to conditions that are in line with torture or death. He has every right to dear persecution and try to go somewhere where that cannot happen. Any sane person would.
39 weeks 4 hours ago
This is only on the assumption that Sweden would really be willing to extradite him to the US. If he is facing charges in Sweden and as yet none in the United States it seems unlikely that he will be quickly shipped off to the US. Rather he is likely to have months more in court facing these sexual abuse charges and then if the US does want him deported there would probably be more court cases in order to get him sent to the US.
39 weeks 2 hours ago
It is even questionable whether Sweden would be able to extradite him under its extradition treaty as political crimes such as espionage are exempted under the treaty and also "When the offense has been committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the requesting State, the request for extradition need not be honored".
Indeed the treaty goes so far as to say "Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:... 5. If the offense is regarded by the requested State as a political offense or as an offense connected with a political offence" or "6. If in the specific case it is found to be obviously incompatible with the requirements of humane treatment, because of, for example, the youth or health of the person sought, taking into account also the nature of the offense and the interests of the requesting state”.
Finally it seems unlikely that the European Convention on Human Rights would allow extradition if there is a chance of the death penalty being used.
On another question do you think the UK will charge Assange for jumping bail?
Manning is a rather different case while Manning was charged under the espionage act it would be much more difficult to do this to Assange who is the intermediary and essentially performing the function of the journalist in this case and so far there has not been a successful prosecution of a journalist or media organisation under the act.
39 weeks 1 hour ago