03 January 2021
Julian Assange Extradition Case Decision
Location: Court 2, The Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EH
Start Date: Monday 4th January 2021
Julian Assange will attend the Old Bailey on Monday 4th January 2021 when district judge Vanessa Baraitser rules on his extradition to the US.
Assange faces 17 charges for receiving, possessing and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence, and one charge for computer misuse. It is the first time in history that receiving and publishing information has been criminalised.
Assange faces 175 years. He has been charged under the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The ruling will be handed down in Court 2 at the Old Bailey, the same court room in which the Guildford 4 were wrongly convicted.
Assange will be driven from HMP Belmarsh to court to attend the hearing in person. It is expected that the van bringing Assange will arrive to the court before 09:00.
Julian Assange’s lawyers are expected to arrive from 09:00.
Julian Assange’s partner will be attending in person and will arrive between 09.15-10.00.
The courts have allocated one hour for the decision between 10:00 – 11:00.
Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris is expected to speak outside the court upon exiting the court.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson is available for interviews Sunday and Monday on request
Court Access and Video streaming
We kindly refer you: https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/courts/central-criminal-court
Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-Chief, Wikileaks said:
“The mere fact that this case has made it to court let alone gone on this long is an historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech. The US Government should listen to the groundswell of support coming from the main stream media editorials, NGOs around the world such as Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations who are all calling for these charges to be dropped. This is a fight that affects each and every person’s right to know and is being fought collectively.”
For background only:
Julian Assange is charged by the US administration for publications exposing war crimes and human rights abuses for which he faces a 175 years sentence. The prosecution turns necessary journalistic practices of communicating with a source and having and publishing true information into crimes. This creates a precedent that can be used against journalists everywhere.
Assange has been held on remand at HMP Belmarsh in London for 20 months.
The full extradition hearing began in February 2020 and concluded in October (after a hiatus due to COVID-19) at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in London and lasted for five weeks. The judgment will be handed down on 4th January 2021.
Mr Assange is represented by Gareth Peirce of Birnberg Peirce (solicitor) and Edward Fitzgerald QC, Mark Summers QC and Florence Iverson (counsel).
Even before COVID-19, Julian Assange’s lawyers experienced a considerable difficulty communicating with their client. Speaking at a hearing back in September, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said ‘We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.’ Mr Fitzgerald continued: ‘We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.’ Assange had not seen his lawyers for 6 months prior to the preceding hearings in September. He has not met with his lawyers since the hearings concluded in October.
The UN working group on arbitrary detention issued a statement saying that “the right of Mr. Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has written: “Our government must ensure the UK is a safe place for journalists and publishers to work. Whilst Julian Assange remains in prison facing extradition, it is not.”
Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International has publicly stated on their website that, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”
Human Rights Watch published an article saying, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”
The NUJ has stated “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.