The UK High Court will deliver its decision on Monday morning at 10.45am about whether to permit Julian Assange to appeal the US extradition decision to UK Supreme Court on points of law of general public importance. Julian Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris will be there to give a statement.
The judgment will either:
1) Certify that the point(s) of law raised by Julian Assange are of general public importance–thus giving him permission to lodge an application with the UK Supreme Court; or
2) Deny such certification, in which case the extradition order will pass to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to authorise or deny Assange’s extradition.
The judges making the decision about whether to permit the appeal to proceed to the UK Supreme Court are the same ones who heard the High Court appeal, LCJ Ian Burnett and LJ Tim Holroyde, and who reversed the magistrate’s decision refusing Julian’s extradition to the US.
The judgment will be read out at 10.45am, London time at Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand WC2A 2LL (Opposite Australia House).
- Evening Standard | Julian Assange’s lawyers begin process for Supreme Court Appeal
- DEA Campaign | Stella Moris statement on Julian Assange’s Supreme Court appeal
- Daily Mail | Julian Assange’s fiancee says she wants to wed the WikiLeaks founder behind bars this year as he spends his 1,000th day in jail
On 10 December 2021, the High Court reversed the district judge’s earlier decision refusing the US request for Assange’s extradition on the basis that to extradite him would be ‘oppressive’ (s.91) because it would have a real risk of causing his death.
After ruling in favour of the US, Assange asked the same High Court judges to certify a number of points of law of general public importance in order to appeal to the Supreme Court. Only if the High Court judges certify at least one can his appeal be sent to the Supreme Court.
Questions arise of the fairness of allowing the US to wait until it had lost at the evidentiary hearing (the primary extradition hearing at the magistrate’s court, which Assange won), to introduce ‘diplomatic assurances’ when the US appealed its loss.
In Julian’s case this has extreme ramifications because the so-called ‘assurances’ contain clauses allowing the US to unilaterally reverse the ‘assurances’, so it would lead to the precise opposite outcome of exposing Assange to extreme conditions.
In Julian Assange’s case, anything he has said or done, publicly or privately, since 6 February 2021 could be used by the US government to “justify” treatment that UK courts have determined would pose a serious risk of killing him.
Expressions or actions that would trigger such an assessment to “justify” the extreme treatment are literally anything. For example, if Julian Assange said to me “I still believe in freedom of the speech” or “I dislike the way the CIA plotted to murder me”.
The CIA is the primary agency responsible for making the decision about whether it, in its subjective assessment, concludes that Julian should be placed in solitary confinement or SAMs or Guantanamo like isolation conditions, or in the harshest prison in the United States, ADX.
It is extraordinary that the CIA, the very agency that is known to have conducted an elaborate illegal conspiracy to assassinate the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, is the one who will be deciding over imposing conditions that UK courts say put him at serious risk of dying.
This is a good discussion about some of the fundamental questions of fairness that arise from the late introduction of US assurances at the appeal stage after the US lost, and the High Court ruling, which Julian is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court.
If the High Court refuses to certify any points, the case goes back to the Magistrates’ court and thereafter to Home Secretary Priti Patel who has the power to refuse extradition. Assange then can appeal all remaining points of the original extradition ruling to the High Court.
The points that Julian would appeal to the High Court are numerous, involving issues of the highest public importance with serious implications for the future of public interest reporting and the ability to defeat politically motivated, abusive prosecutions.