8 January 2021
After Monday’s unexpected ruling against the extradition of Julian Assange on medical grounds, two days later the same lower courtjudge denied a request for bail.
Speaking outside the court Stella Moris, partner and mother of Assange’s two young children said: “Julian should not be in Belmarsh prison in the first place. I urge the President of the United States to pardon Julian.”
WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “We think it is unjust, unfair and illogical – when you consider her ruling two days ago about Julian’s health which of course is caused, in large part, because he is being held in Belmarsh prison. To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”
Rebecca Vincent from Reporters Without Borders who has been monitoring Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings said: “Reporters Without Borders condemns this decision taken today which we view as unnecessarily cruel. We fully believe that Julian Assange was targeted for his contributions to journalism. He shouldn’t have to spend another moment unjustly deprived of his liberty.”
Amnesty International said that the “decision to refuse the bail application renders Assange’s ongoing detention arbitrary, and compounds the fact that he has endured punishing conditions in high security detention at Belmarsh prison for more than a year.”
After the judge’s extradition ruling on Monday a Guardian editorial declared ‘Relief, not victory’. “A judge has rightly rejected the US request, but only on mental health grounds. The case should be dropped.” Not only is Julian still languishing in HMP Belmarsh despite a ruling that he should be freed, but Judge Baraitser accepted the U.S. government’s repressive arguments criminalizing journalism.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights said “Considerations of press freedom and potential ill-treatment should prevent his extradition. Hope this brings proceedings to a swift end”
All major human rights organizations voiced their support for the decision to block the extradition to the United States including: Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Committee to Protect Journalists, National Union of Journalists, Australian Union of Journalists (MEAA), Article19, Freedom of the Press Foundation, International Press Institute – as well as politicians and commentators from all sides of the political spectrum.