Important Decision On Assange Legal Case Is Imminent

A legal decision to be made tomorrow will determine whether the UK will drop its arrest warrant against Julian Assange. The warrant was issued in connection with the Swedish investigation of Assange, which never produced charges against him and has now ended. If the UK does drop their warrant, it may force the revelation of a US extradition order against him.

The news comes weeks after it was revealed that Assange has been given citizenship and diplomatic status by the Ecuadorian government, as reported by Disobedient Media. Sweden has already dropped its own warrant against Assange, on which the UK warrant was based.

Earlier today, Assange pointed out via Twitter that February 5th also marks the second year since the UN determined he is:  “unlawfully & arbitrarily detained by UK authorities—and must be released & compensated—under international law & treaties the UK has signed.” Despite this, he has been denied the ability to leave the embassy without fear of arrest.

Assange further Tweeted regarding the background to his legal situation, providing an article that details important context regarding the history Assange’s detention.  The document describes the UK pressuring Sweden to continue its investigation into the Wikileaks co-founder after Sweden expressed an intention to drop the matter.

The article also indicates that: “the Obama administration looked at dropping the case against Julian after he obtained asylum but changed its mind in 2013 due to his rescue of Edward Snowden from Hong Kong.”  This is particularly important because it illustrates that the continued detention of the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief is based primarily on retaliatory efforts from the US intelligence community, not on any concept of serving Justice.

Obama’s decision not to allow Assange’s freedom specifically due to his efforts to aid Edward Snowden is incredibly significant. Assange must have been aware of the implication that would result in aiding Snowden. This indicates that Assange effectively sacrificed the possibility of freedom to help a whistleblower escape the ire of the US.

That Assange’s decision to aid Snowden affected the treatment he later received regarding his freedom is further illustrated by paragraph 75 of his original September 2014 submission to UNWGAD. The passage officially confirms that the UK pulled out of safe passage negotiations because of the Snowden rescue:

The American power structure proved through its treatment of Chelsea Manning that it is only interested in punishing truth-tellers that reveal its wrongdoing. The United States’ treatment of Manning, Snowden and Assange belies its claim to liberal ideas or moral authority under a pretense of Democracy.

Assange also Tweeted earlier today regarding fierce Italian Journalist Stefania Maurizi and her witness statement in the current legal case. The document includes the following, as indicated via Twitter:

Maurizi’s statement includes a conversation with a lawyer in the case, Mr. Paul Close, who stated that Assange is not being dealt with legally in the fashion that would be expected to be followed for ‘ordinary citizens.’  The file also relates that Maurizi has worked with a number of prestigious Italian media outlets, partnered with Wikileaks regarding verifying documents since 2009, and worked with Glenn Greenwald on the Snowden files.

In the document, Maurizi writes that as opposed to ‘fleeing investigation,’ Assange had been frustrated by Sweden’s refusal to question him in London.

The details contained in Maurizi’s statement suggest the conclusion that Sweden’s investigation of Assange, which has since ended, served as a pretext for the US and UK intelligence communities to retaliate against the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief for having revealed damning evidence of war crimes in Iraq, and other equally embarrassing information. Wikileaks has continued to provide insight into the operation of global power structures as the years have passed, despite Assange’s detention in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Maurizi’s statement also addressed the findings of the United Nations Human Rights Committee Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which she noted had determined that: “there was an ongoing breach of fundamental human rights, partly due to the delay by CPS and SPA.” She added that Swedish authorities confirmed to her that the country had never been found to have arbitrarily kept any person in detention previous to Assange’s case.

Maurizi quoted the United Nations Human Rights Committee Working Group on Arbitrary Detention directly, including their statement that: “The working group has no choice but to query what has prohibited the unfolding of judicial management of any kind in a reasonable manner from occurring for such extended period of time.”

Whatever the outcome of the decision reached tomorrow in Assange’s legal case, one thing is certain: the reason for his detention has nothing to do with Justice and everything to do with retaliation from a corrupt system that dislikes having evidence of its crimes being made available to the public.

Independent media and those who care for transparency in government should take this moment before a major decision is made regarding Assange to vocalize their support for the Wikileaks co-founder. Clearly, mainstream press is not interested in giving Assange fair treatment, any more than the US and UK systems of “Justice.”

Originally published: Elizabeth Vos (Disobedient Media)

Elizabeth Vos is Co-Founder and Editor in Chief at Disobedient Media.

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