PEN Humanitarian Assange Appeal to British Consulate: Demonstration at Consulate, 12pm Tuesday, 22 August at 90 Collins St

An Open Letter to the British Consul General Regarding Mr Julian Assange

7 August 2023

Dear Mr. Stephen Lysaght,

We seek your urgent intervention in a matter that concerns the life of an Australian citizen, Julian Assange.

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, William E. Gladstone, once stated

“Justice delayed is justice denied” in the spirit of the Magna Carta, clause 40, which reads “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice”.

After fourteen years of detention, including four years in isolation in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison, Julian has no convictions apart from a bail violation in a case involving an investigation where charges were never made. Even this violation was to seek political asylum to which he was entitled.

The US charges under the Espionage Act are vigorously contested not only by Assange and his legal counsel, but by virtually every legal, human rights, and media organisation in the world. In any case, the extended time frame has superseded the cause of justice since he has been excessively punished by the process itself, an unacceptable outcome for those who believe in the rule of law.

The Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has repeatedly stated that “enough is enough”, and that “this matter should be brought to an end”. He has been joined in this call by opposition leader Peter Dutton and a cross bench of Australian MPs and Senators, the Friends of Julian Assange.

The current physical and mental health of Julian Assange is in a precarious state after fourteen years of detention, including four years in isolation in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison, conditions described by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer as “psychological torture”. Over 60 medical doctors writing as Doctors for Assange have written:

“It is our opinion that Mr. Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr. Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”

We, the members of the PEN International Melbourne Centre, are therefore respectfully calling for the immediate humanitarian repatriation of Julian Assange to Australia where he can receive the appropriate medical treatment he so urgently needs.

 Mr Lysaght, we would like to meet with you or your representative to present you with a copy of Nils Melzer’s book The Trial of Julian Assange which details the series of injustices that Mr Assange has suffered, and to discuss the course of action we propose.

We look forward to your acknowledgement of receipt of this letter.

Thank you for your kind consideration and urgent action,


Constantine Pakavakis and Dr. Josephine Scicluna

PEN International Melbourne Centre


Mr Lysaght replied on 16 August:


Dear Mr Pakavakis and Dr Scicluna

I refer to your correspondence of 7 August 2023 about Julian Assange.

As the case is subject to ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to discuss further at this stage.

With best wishes,

Stephen Lysaght

On the 18th August PEN replied to Mr Lysaght:

Dear Mr Lysaght,

Thank you for your prompt response.

We understand that you cannot comment on legal proceedings.  Respectfully, could we point out:

  1. This is a humanitarian request, not a legal one.
  2. Our request for your urgent intervention is not a request for your legal intervention. To clarify, we would like you to urgently pass our concerns to the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Suella Braverman.
  3. Nine former Australian Attorneys-General haveco-authored a letter appealing to Prime Minister Albanese to escalate efforts to persuade  the United States to abandon the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange.

Concerned that Julian’s health could deteriorate further or that he could face death in American custody, the group underscored the dangerous precedent the US’s pursuit of Julian sets for journalists and whistleblowers globally.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any options that may exist to safeguard Mr Assange’s health and human rights, even small steps such as transferring him to a medical institution, for example.

Every justice system in the world, including Australia, US and UK have proven cases of miscarriages of justice. Even the PM and Opposition leader of Australia are pointing to the obvious injustice of Mr Assange’s continued incarceration in a maximum security prison.

We hope you will consider the seriousness and urgency of this request and look forward to your response.

Thank you for your kind consideration,


Constantine Pakavakis and Dr. Josephine Scicluna

PEN International Melbourne Centre

China: Release citizen journalist Huang Qi

Image courtesy of Wang Jing

02 August 2023: Last weekend marked four years since citizen journalist, publisher and activist Huang Qi (黄琦) was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. Huang suffers from several critical health conditions and the authorities have repeatedly denied requests from his family and legal representatives to meet with him in-person since he was imprisoned. We are deeply concerned for his health and well-being and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

On 29 July 2019, Huang Qi was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and a further four years deprivation of his political rights after he was convicted of ‘leaking state secrets’ and ‘illegally providing state secrets to foreign countries’. While the trial was held behind closed doors, the conviction is thought to be connected to his work publishing reporting on human rights violations in China through his human rights website called 64 Tianwang, named after the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place on 4 June 1989.

‘At a time when independent media is heavily repressed in China, citizen journalists have played a crucial role in providing a source of uncensored news and information, often at great personal risk. Huang Qi’s unjust imprisonment on national security grounds is an alarming example of the PRC government’s intolerance towards the right to freedom of expression when it is exercised by those who speak truth to power. We call for Huang’s immediate and unconditional release’, said Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

On 28 November 2016, Huang was detained at his home by police just weeks after his website, 64 Tianwang, received a press freedom prize from RSF. He was then allegedly held incommunicado until his formal arrest on charges of ‘illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities’ on 16 December 2016.

While held in pre-trial detention, Huang was repeatedly denied adequate medical care, and he reported to his lawyer that the authorities deliberately provided incorrect results for his blood pressure as part of efforts to cover up the severity of his deteriorating health. Denial of adequate medical care has been a frequently used tactic against dissidents in China, including Nobel laureate and former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Liu Xiaobo.

Despite a campaign by Huang’s mother Pu Wenqing, human rights NGOs, and calls for his immediate release from United Nations experts, he remains detained while suffering from heart disease, a potentially fatal kidney condition and hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brain).

On 24 November 2022, Pu Wengqing, who suffers from lung cancer and frequent harassment from the authorities, was permitted to see her son for the first time since he was detained through a video call lasting just two minutes before it was cut off. Since then, Pu and Huang’s lawyers have been repeatedly denied the ability to visit him and assess his wellbeing.

Huang Qi is an award-winning citizen journalist, publisher and activist who has been referred to as China’s first “cyber-dissident”. He founded China’s first human rights website, 64 Tianwang, in 1999. Reliant on a network of citizen journalists across the country, at its height, 64 Tianwang played a key role in highlighting human rights issues ranging from human trafficking to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

Huang was initially praised by state media for his human rights work, however over the following years, Huang and numerous contributors to 64 Tianwang have been heavily persecuted for their reporting on sensitive human rights issues inside China.

In June 2000, eleven years after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Huang was detained after he posted articles written by others that called for the prosecution of officials responsible for the violent crackdown against student protestors on 4 June 1989. In August 2001, Huang was put on trial for “internet crimes”, reportedly the first such trial to take place in China, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power” on 9 May 2003, almost three years after he was initially detained.

According to a communication by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, during his detention Huang was beaten and denied medical care, resulting in injuries to his face and body, including a broken tooth. In its response to the communication, China categorically denied that Huang had suffered ill-treatment or torture while detained and even claimed that he had deliberately injured himself with a pen to avoid interrogation.

Undeterred by his imprisonment, following his release in June 2005, Huang continued to use his website to highlight politically sensitive issues, including his investigation into the government’s response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, where over 5,000 children and students died following the collapse of shoddily constructed public school buildings. In June 2008, Huang was detained after he visited the families of children who died in the earthquake and was sentenced the following year to three years’ imprisonment for ‘illegal possession of state secrets’. While imprisoned, Huang’s health declined significantly and he was reportedly diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease, a potentially fatal medical condition that requires regular medical treatment.

Following his release in 2011, Huang continued to publish reporting on human rights issues despite being subjected to routine harassment from the authorities, including his most recent arrest in November 2016.

For further information please contact Ross Holder, Head of the Asia/ Pacific Region at PEN International, email:

Event: Whistleblowers and Wikileaks Collide with MC Sami Shah

Event by Truth Not War, PEN Melbourne

Sat 29 July, 3-6 pm at The Loading Bay, Trades Hall, Carlton

Welcoming Sami Shah, comedian, ABC radio presenter, author and Ambassador at large of PEN Melbourne as our MC introducing and conducting this esteemed panel:

Dean Yates was the Reuters bureau chief at the time the Collateral Murder killings took place in July 2007. The 2 slain journalists were his staff. Dean found out the truth of what really happened to them when WikiLeaks published the video in 2010.
Dean recently launched his new book Line in the Sand, his memoir that takes us on a journey through PTSD beginning with Collateral Murder. Books will be available for purchase.

John Shipton has been campaigning globally for his son’s release for several years. Millions support the campaign to free Julian with 88% of Australians saying it’s time to bring him home.

David McBride has extensive knowledge of how the military works and Australia’s subservience to the USA. He often speaks out about the AUKUS scam, Robodebt debacle and has been a strong outspoken supporter of Julian Assange for many years. David really brings this fight home with his own experience and pending imprisonment in November.

Some of the fundraiser will be used for the next 5 months of David’s campaign as we seek to make him a household name. We call on all to converge on Canberra for the start of his trial on the 13th November.

Dean, David and John connect the dots between the war on whistleblowers and the war on journalism which is essentially a war on all peoples of the world.


Nibbles and drinks provided.

Donations encouraged..
Raffle tickets, T-shirts and other merchandise for sale.
All proceeds go to the grassroots campaign for David McBride & Julian Assange.

Türkiye: Free PEN member Merdan Yanardağ

06 July 2023 – The authorities of Türkiye should immediately and unconditionally free prominent journalist, writer, and PEN Türkiye member Merdan Yanardağ and drop all charges against him, PEN International said today. The organisation calls once again on the authorities to stop using overbroad anti-terrorism laws to silence writers and journalists who peacefully express their views.


Merdan Yanardağ, editor-in-chief of TELE 1 broadcaster, was detained in Istanbul on 26 June 2023 by counterterrorism officers after the public prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the 20 June broadcast of TELE 1. Yanardağ was formally arrested on 27 June on charges of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ and ‘praising crime and a criminal’. He is currently being held in Silivri prison, near Istanbul. A request for release pending trial was denied by the court on 5 July on the grounds that Yanardağ was considered a flight risk.


In the said broadcast , Yanardağ spoke about the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which broke down in July 2015. Yanardağ notably commented on the prison conditions of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stating that his solidarity confinement, in place since 2016, should be lifted. Türkiye’s broadcast regulator RTÜK subsequently launched an investigation into TELE1 over Yanardağ’s remarks. Shortly before his arrest, Yanardağ said his words had been taken out of context and were not meant to praise Öcalan. On 29 June, PEN Türkiye issued a statement urging Yanardağ’s immediate release.


Once again, the Turkish authorities are using overbroad counter-terrorism laws to punish peaceful views. Journalists should be able to carry out their work freely, without fear of reprisal. We stand with PEN Türkiye member MerdanYanardağ and call for his immediate and unconditional release. All charges against him must be dropped. said Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.


Additional information


Merdan Yanardağ, born on 24 February 1961, is a prominent journalist, writer, and member of PEN Türkiye. He is the editor-in-chief of TELE1, one of the few remaining news outlets critical of the Turkish authorities. Over the past two decades, Türkiye’s government has captured over 90% of the media landscape and has been using RTÜK to routinely issue fines as a tool to silence critical media. TELE1 has already been fined four times in 2023 for Yanardağ’s statements. The government’s grip on mainstream media has been backed by a crackdown on independent media. At least 47 journalists were behind bars when the general elections took place in May 2023.


PEN International has repeatedly condemned the Turkish authorities’ use of overbroad counter-terrorism laws to target dissenting views. The organisation calls on the authorities to take all necessary steps to guarantee freedom of expression online and offline, and to align Türkiye’s counter-terrorism laws with international standards.


Aurélia Dondo| Head of Europe and Central Asia Region | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Workdays: Mon-Fri

IRAN: Toomaj Salehi Imprisoned for Music Supporting Protests

by Mammad Aidani

Toomaj Salehi is a prominent young Iranian musician. He is a rapper who was among the most public supporters of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran before he was arrested, imprisoned, interrogated, tortured and filmed forcefully confessing.  Toomaj is an innocent artist and freedom fighter languishing in Iranian prison in Isfahan. Illegally extracting confessions by torture and then broadcasting them on Iranian state media is a common way of intimidating and silencing other opponents and Iranian society at large.  Toomaj’s songs are directly critical of the Islamic regime and those indifferent to its oppression, brutality, and abuse of the human rights of Iranians. Toomaj was arrested during anti-Iranian Islamic regime protests in Iran last year and faced charges of “Corruption on Earth”, which according to the Islamic law of the regime, carries a lengthy prison sentence or the death penalty. The Islamic regime has used this law against its critics and opponents for the last 44 years. Owing to the enormous international effort, Toomaj has just been given a sentence of six years and three months.

Toomaj is in a highly critical situation and has been kept in solitary confinement. PEN Melbourne strongly condemns the brutal treatment of Toomaj, who has the right to express himself in his songs and writing. We are gravely concerned about his well-being and demand that he — as well as all other persecuted writers and artists in Iran — be immediately released from prison, so that he can return to society and continue to do what he does best: fearlessly expressing himself through his songs without threats by the Iranian Islamic regime.

PEN USA link:

France24 youtube link:

Myanmar: PEN mourns the passing of PEN Myanmar president, Nyi Pu Lay

22 June 2023: The PEN community mourns the passing of writer, artist, and President of PEN Myanmar, Nyein Chan (henceforth referred to by his pen name, Nyi Pu Lay).

On the morning of 21 June 2023, Nyi Pu Lay died following a heart attack. When Myanmar’s military took power in a coup on 1 February 2021, Nyi Pu Lay was forced to go into hiding after a warrant was put out for his arrest for defaming the military under Section 505(A) of the Criminal Code, a charge frequently used to target dissidents and those who have publicly criticised the coup. Subjected to difficult living conditions, he was prevented from receiving adequate medical care due to the risk of arrest by the military junta.

 ‘Nyi Pu Lay embodied the best of PEN. His writing was cherished by young and old, and he lived according to his principles despite great personal cost to his freedom and health. The PEN community mourns his tragic passing, but he will continue to live on through his words,’ said Burhan Sonmez, President of PEN International.

Nyi Pu Lay lived as a writer, photographer, artist, and as PEN Myanmar’s longest-serving president. Born in 1952, he was the youngest son of Ludu Daw Amar and Ludu U Hla, both prominent dissident writers and journalists. Nyi Pu Lay followed in his parent’s footsteps, becoming one of Myanmar’s most celebrated writers. He began writing after his father’s death and published his first short story, A Pinch of Salt, in 1985. He quickly developed a reputation for his satirical prose, and over the following decades, he published over a dozen collections of short stories and several novels. In 2016, Nyi Pu Lay received Myanmar’s National Literature Prize for his book, The Sweet Honey Drop on the Sharp Scalpel Blade, which recounts the life of Dr Thein Hlaing, a surgeon who became revered for his selfless work in support of others.

As with his parents, Nyi Pu Lay was unyielding in his principled opposition to military rule. In 1978, he was first imprisoned along with his mother for several months in retaliation for his elder brother allegedly joining the outlawed Communist Party of Burma. In 1990, Nyi Pu Lay was arrested again and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for alleged contact with ‘illegal organisations’. He was released in 1999 along with fellow writer and founder of PEN Myanmar, Ma Thida.

Some of Nyi Pu Lay’s most recent writing has been translated into English and was published as part of a collection of essays and poems titled Picking off new shoots will not stop the spring, which was edited by Ko Ko Thett and Brian Haman. Nyi Pu Lay’s essay, The dharma will prevail, reflects on the resolve of Myanmar’s youth in facing the unrelenting violence unleashed by the military junta:

‘So the military beat and smashed the protesters with batons, threw tear bombs and stun bombs to disperse crowds. They would also use battle-grade grenades and live rounds. They employed snipers who shot innocent people in the head. Civil servants who were on strike were forcibly evicted from their homes if their homes were government properties.

And yet the protesters’ blood was red with courage. They were not to be cowed. Observers couldn’t believe that the generation that was accustomed to K-pop and game apps had come up with several inventive forms of protest that had not been seen before.

Theirs was the fight between the dharma and ah-dharma, the tug of war between right and wrong, the arm-wrestling match between fresh imaginative minds and rotten kleptocrats.

More than fifty million people against a band of armed men.

A last-ditch fight.’

Nyi Pu Lay will be remembered through his writing, which will continue to serve as a source of joy and inspiration for generations do come.

For further information please contact Ross Holder, Head of Asia/ Pacific Region at PEN International. Email:

Ukraine: PEN International mourns the killing of writer and PEN Ukraine member Victoria Amelina

03 July – PEN International joins PEN Ukraine in mourning the killing of writer, PEN Ukraine member and human rights defender Victoria Amelina, following a horrific Russian missile strike in Kramatorsk, Eastern Ukraine on 27 June 2023. Amelina was seriously injured and rushed to hospital in Dnipro. She passed away on 1 July 2023. She was 37 years old.

In a statement published on 2 July 2023, PEN Ukraine said:

With our greatest pain, we inform you that Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina passed away on 1 July in Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro. Her death was caused by injuries incompatible with life, which she suffered from during the Russian missile shelling of a restaurant in Kramatorsk on 27 June 2023. We are announcing this news now when all Victoria’s family members have learned about it and with their consent (…). Victoria Amelina, Ukrainian writer and member of PEN Ukraine, who has been documenting Russian war crimes with the human rights initiative Truth Hounds, was in Kramatorsk with a delegation of Colombian writers and journalists. As they were having dinner at the Ria Lounge restaurant downtown, Russians launched a missile attack on this restaurant. Victoria was severely injured. Doctors and paramedics in Kramatorsk and Dnipro did everything they could to save her life, but the injuries were fatal and incompatible with life. In the last days of Victoria’s life, her closest people and friends were with her (…). For us, Victoria’s friends, and colleagues, it is very important the cultural initiatives set up by her, could last. Very soon we will share with you information about the ways you can support her life’s work.

Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director of PEN International, said:

We are devasted by the killing of our friend and PEN member Victoria Amelina. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones during these terrible times. Victoria’s strength, selflessness, and determination in the face of adversity have been an inspiration to us all. As we grieve her loss, her words, writings, and voice will forever resonate with us. Today is a tragic day for the PEN community, who stands with everyone at PEN Ukraine. Those responsible for her killing must be brought to justice.

Born in 1986, Victoria Amelina was a prize-winning writer and poet, and founder of the New York Literature Festival in the Donetsk region, Eastern Ukraine. Since the Russian Federation’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Amelina had been documenting war crimes with the human rights initiative Truth Hounds, and notably uncovered the war diary of Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was abducted by Russian forces on 24 March 2022. On 28 November 2022, after the Ukrainian army recaptured Izium from Russian forces, DNA analysis confirmed that the body found in grave N.319 in the woods of Izium was that of Vakulenko. Amelina had recently taken part in the first presentation of his war diary at the Book Arsenal literary festival in Kyiv on 23 June 2023.

PEN International has repeatedly called on the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally end its devastating war against Ukraine, including through a Resolution adopted at PEN International’s 88th annual Congressin September 2022, a statement marking a year of war crimes and resolve in Ukraine, and a Declaration of PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee issued in May 2023.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo, Head of Europe and Central Asia Region at PEN International:

UK/US: Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange close to extradition

21 June – We – PEN International and the undersigned PEN Centres – express our deepest concerns over the decision by the UK High Court to reject the appeal of Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange against his extradition order to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for his role in obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic documents. We once again call on the US authorities to drop all charges against him and on the UK authorities to release him from Belmarsh prison immediately.

In a three-page judgment issued on 6 June 2023, the UK High Court rejected all eight grounds of Assange’s appeal against his extradition order, signed by the UK Home Secretary in June 2022. Assange made a renewed application for appeal to the High Court on 13 June 2023; the matter will now proceed to a public hearing before two new judges. Alarmingly, no further appeals will be possible at the domestic level. In December 2022, Assange’s legal team already launched a case against the UK before the European Court of Human Rights, which could potentially order his extradition to be blocked.

We have repeatedly stressed that Assange’s prosecution raises profound concerns about freedom of the press. Invoking the Espionage Act for practices that include receiving and publishing classified information sends a dangerous signal to journalists and publishers around the world. At our 88th World Congress in Uppsala, Sweden, in September 2022, the PEN community united in one voice to condemn the prosecution of Assange and certification of his extradition, and the threats they pose to freedom of expression worldwide.

With the latest UK High Court decision moving Assange closer to extradition, we urge the US and UK authorities to end his judicial harassment once and for all, and to uphold instead their stated commitment to protect media freedom globally.

Assange should be released from Belmarsh prison – where he has been held on remand for over four years – as a matter of urgency and reunited with his family. His freedom of movement upon release must be respected.

The US authorities should drop the charges against Assange and withdraw their extradition request. Espionage laws should not be used against journalists or publishers for disclosing information of public interest.

Signed by

English PEN

German PEN

PEN International

PEN Melbourne

PEN Norway

PEN Slovenia

PEN Suisse romand

PEN Sydney

Scottish PEN

Swedish PEN

Background information

Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been given asylum for almost seven years. He was arrested for breaching his bail conditions in 2012, and further arrested on behalf of the US authorities under an extradition warrant for his role in obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

In the US, Assange would face trial on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which combined could see him imprisoned for up to 175 years. In March 2022, the UK Supreme Court denied Assange’s request to appeal an earlier decision by the UK High Court that permitted his extradition to the US – which in turn had overturned a previous ruling by the District Court that found extradition would endanger his life. The UK Home Secretary approved his extradition on 17 June 2022 – a decision condemned by PEN International and PEN Centres around the world.

Assange is the first publisher to be charged under the Espionage Act. He is an honorary member of German PEN, PEN Melbourne, PEN Norway, and PEN Slovenia.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo, Head of Europe and Central Asia Region at PEN International:

Julian Assange’s persecution has nothing to do with the law. It is a simple demonstration of the crushing power of the state, writes Craig Murray.

Nuremberg Trials. Defendants in their dock, circa 1945-1946.
(front, from l to r): Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel second row, from l to r): Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel. ( Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality/Still Picture Records LICON, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S)

By Craig Murray

There has never existed any government so evil and repugnant that it has been unable to find lawyers, and particularly judges, to do its bidding.

Hitler did not need to manufacture lawyers and judges. A very significant number, indeed the majority, of established and reputable German lawyers were prepared to participate actively in Nazi law, both its development and implementation.

That of course includes Roland Freisler, a Doctor of Law from the University of Jena, who was a practising solicitor before his elevation.

This was prosecutor Telford Thomas, opening the trial of Nazi lawyers at Nuremberg:

“This case is unusual, in that the defendants are charged with crimes committed in the name of the law. These men, together with their deceased or fugitive colleagues, were the embodiment of what passed for justice in the Third Reich.

Most of the defendants have served, at various times, as judges, as state prosecutors, and as officials of the Reich Ministry of Justice. ALL BUT ONE ARE PROFESSIONAL JURISTS. They are well accustomed to courts, and courtrooms, though their present role may be new to them.

But a court is far more than a courtroom; it is a process and a spirit. It is the house of law. This the defendants know, or must have known in times past. I doubt that they ever forgot.

Indeed, the root of the accusation in this case is that these men, leaders of the German judicial system, consciously and deliberately suppressed the law, engaged in an unholy masquerade of tyranny disguised as justice, and converted the German judicial systems to an engine of despotism, conquest, pillage and slaughter.”

Thomas’ quote “an unholy masquerade of tyranny disguised as justice” is a phrase that has been rattling around my head as a perfect encapsulation of the state “legal” process against Julian Assange, which I have been detailing this last several years.

Together, of course, with the fact that the NATO states hate Assange – and seek his judicial murder – precisely for revealing truths that embarrassed their system of “conquest, pillage and slaughter” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

It is worth noting Hitler was by no means alone in being able to call on the respected lawyers to do his bidding.

The prosecutor of Stalin’s show trials, Andrei Vishinski, whom Freisler traveled to Moscow to see in action and whose screaming and taunting Freisler consciously copied, was also a “proper” lawyer, a graduate of the University of Kiev with a background of practice in Moscow.

(I should note in passing the counter case that Stalin’s favourite judge, Ulrich, was an auto-didact out of military tribunals).

We are brought up with an innate respect for the rule of law and belief that, though it makes mistakes, it is impartial and honest. Unfortunately, that is merely one of the myths by which our society functions. That is something I have reluctantly come to understand.

I was, nonetheless, so taken aback by Justice Jonathan Swift’s current and curt ruling, dismissing Assange’s High Court appeal in the extradition saga, that I thought I would dig a little deeper.

I therefore started with Swift’s surprising December ruling, in cahoots with Judge Lewis, that the Tory government’s scheme to deport refugees to Rwanda is lawful.

His judgment depends above all on the notion that any fiction concocted by the U.K. government has more legal force than actual fact. There is no real world doubt that Rwanda is a ghastly dictatorship and kills opponents. Nor that it has killed the inhabitants of refugee camps on its soil.

But that is OK, say Swift and Lewis, because the government of Rwanda has said in an MOU that it won’t do that to our refugees, who are different to those other refugees:

“73. The Claimants rely on what happened in 2018 when refugees from neighbouring countries at Kiziba refugee camp protested at the conditions in the camp. It has been reported (for example, by Human Rights Watch) that the police who entered the camp in response to the protests used excessive force. They fired on the refugees and some were killed. The Claimants also point more generally to limits in Rwanda on the freedom to express political opinion if that opinion is critical of the Rwandan authorities.

  1. We do not consider that any direct inference can be drawn from the events at Kiziba refugee camp in 2018. The circumstances that led to those protests are unlikely to be repeated for any person transferred to Rwanda under the MEDP. The treatment of transferred persons, both prior to and after determination of their asylum claims isprovided for in the MOU (at paragraphs 8 and 10) and in the Support NV. For thereasons already given, we consider the Rwandan authorities will abide by the terms set out in those documents.”

On top of which, the Refugee Convention, according to Swift and Lewis, says that refugees must be treated no worse than a state’s own citizens. So if Rwanda persecutes its own people, then there is no breach in persecuting the refugees we send too.

“…the Claimants’ case comes to the proposition that, following removal to Rwanda, it is possible that one or more of those transferred might come to hold opinions critical of the Rwandan authorities, and that possibility means that now, the Soering threshold is passed.

  1. There is evidence that opportunities for political opposition in Rwanda are very limited and closely regulated. The position is set out in the “General Human Rights in Rwanda” assessment document, one of the documents published by the Home Secretary on 9 May 2022. There are restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The Claimants submitted that this state of affairs might mean that any transfer to Rwanda would entail a breach of article 15 of the Refugee Convention (which provides that refugees must be accorded the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals in respect of non-political and non-profit-making associations and trade unions). However, we do not consider there is any force in this submission at all. Putting to one side the fact that article 15 does not extend to all rights of association, it is, in any event, a non-discrimination provision – i.e., persons protected under the Refugee Convention must not be less favourably treated than the receiving country’s own citizens. There is no evidence to that effect in this case.”

The U.K. Home Office on Marsham Street, London. (Andrew Abbott, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Indeed, Swift and Lewis tell us, the defendant’s case is “speculative”. There is no evidence that the government of Rwanda will wish to torture them, simply because the government of Rwanda hasn’t even met them yet. Besides, the government of Rwanda has promised not to mistreat people under an agreement with the U.K., “the MEDP”, which gives the Rwandan government 120 million of cash to steal, or spend on Rwanda’s economic development.

“Returning to the material covered in the Home Secretary’s assessment document, there is also evidence (from a U.S. State Department report of 2020) that political opponents have been detained in “unofficial” detention centres and that persons so detained have been subjected to torture and article 3 ill-treatment short of torture. Further, there is evidence that prisons in Rwanda are over-crowded and the conditions are very poor. Nevertheless, the Claimants’ submission is speculative. It does not rest on any evidence of any presently-held opinion. There is no suggestion that any of the individual Claimants would be required to conceal presently-held political or other views. The Claimants’ submission also assumes that the response of the Rwandan authorities to any opinion that may in future be held by any transferred person would (or might) involve article 3 ill-treatment. Given that the person concerned would have been transferred under the terms of the MEDP that possibility is not a real risk.”

Swift and Lewis argue further, at paras 81 to 84, that in U.K. domestic law, the Home Secretary’s certification of Rwanda as a safe country is “irrebuttable” – ie there is no legal avenue to question its truth, and nor does it require parliamentary approval. The “safety” of Rwanda is a fact in law simply because Home Secretary Suella Braverman certifies that it is.

Having stated that under Tory immigration legislation the Home Secretary can certify anywhere she feels like as safe, irrespective of objective truth (provide certain procedural steps are taken) Swift and Lewis then go on to the non-sequitur on which their judgment depends, that because a country has been certified “safe” for the purposes of U.K. domestic law, that makes it actually eligible for receipt of U.K. deportees in terms of the U.N. Refugee Convention.

The U.N. Refugee Convention says this:

“No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

That is the obligation under international law, incorporated into British law. It does not disappear with a signature from the Home Secretary, but depends on the actual, real state of affairs.

It would not, in real life or in the Refugee Convention, be safe to deport people to Yemen, Eastern Ukraine nor the Sudan just because Braverman signed something. The Refugee Convention is not subject to the fantasy propositions of “irrebuttable” Whitehall certificates.

As devoted servants of the Executive, Lewis and Swift undeniably have one thing in common with Freisler, Ullrich and Vishinski, which is an impatience with pesky defendants bothering them with evidence, troublesome arguments and annoying amounts of paper, and trying to save their own lives.

Lewis and Swift begin their judgment on Rwanda with a full throttled rant at the annoyance of having to wade through the paperwork that the deportees had the downright cheek to produce in defence:

“36. The pleadings in these proceedings are not models of good practice. Practice Direction 54A requires Statements of Facts and Grounds to be clear and concise. None of the pleadings meets this requirement, even though many if not all have been revised one or more times since the proceedings were issued. On the Claimants’ side the pleading in claim CO/2032/2022 (AAA and others) has taken pole position, setting out various generic grounds of challenge as well as grounds specific to the facts of the cases of the individual claimants in that case. Seven generic grounds of challenge are pleaded (Grounds 1, 1A – 1C, 2A and 3-6). However, these grounds tend to overlap or circle back on one another. Other claims brought by other Claimants have adopted these generic grounds of challenge or formulated variations on them, as well as pleading complaints based on their own circumstances. The pleading in CO/2056/2022 (the Asylum Aid case) raises complaints about the Home Secretary’s decision-making procedure. What is said about procedural fairness in this case largely overlap with the complaints on procedural fairness raised in CO/2023/2022 and other claims. Asylum Aid contends that these matters demonstrate there is systemic unfairness in the procedure adopted to deal with the inadmissibility and removal decisions. The Home Secretary pleading is a response in kind. The Amended Detailed Grounds of Defence (to all claims) runs to some 215 pages.

  1. At the court’s request the parties prepared an agreed list of issues. However, thatexercise failed to simplify the position: the list identifies 29 generic issues, many ofwhich are repetitive or overlapping; and many more issues specific to each claim.
  2. The same approach has been repeated in the Skeleton Arguments. Mention should be made of the Skeleton Argument in CO/2032/2022 and CO/2104/2022 (262 pages), and the Skeleton Argument in CO/2094/2022 (63 pages). Each comfortably exceeds the maximum length permitted by Practice Direction 54A (25 pages). Permission to file skeleton arguments longer than the maximum permitted was not requested in advance; each document was presented to the court as a fait accompli. The length of these documents has not served to clarify the way in which the various complaints are put. The documents meander and repeat themselves.”

This is plainly a particular bugbear of Swift. My examination of his ruling on Rwanda deportations is only a prelude, to put into context this ruling on the Assange appeal. What I have found common to both decisions is an insistence that narrative put forward by the executive is not to be questioned, and an extreme distaste for having to entertain lengthy arguments on behalf of those individuals whose lives hang in the balance.

The Assange Appeal

The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the City of Westminster, where the London High Court is based. (Sjiong, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I consider the High Court appeal of Julian Assange to be, in itself a document of historic importance. I have therefore decided to publish it in full, and I recommend you at the very least to dip in to it.


The very first sentence of Assange’s Appeal rings out loud, and explains why his extradition proceedings were held effectively in closed court and why the High Court are determined to avoid any substantive public hearing:

“Julian Assange and Wikileaks were responsible for the exposure of criminality on the part of the U.S. Government on a massive and unprecedented scale.”

In the first 3 pages (of 150), it outlines the argument and the ground it covers (DJ is District Judge Vanessa Baraitser):

B E T W E E N:
References to CB/X are references to the core permission bundle.
EB/X are references to the section 103 evidence bundle.
1. Introduction
1.1. Julian Assange and Wikileaks were responsible for the exposure of criminality on the part of the U.S. Government on a massive and unprecedented scale. The publication in 2010 and 2011 of materials sent by a serving military officer, Private Manning, sit at the very apex of publicinterest disclosures. By publishing this material ‘WikiLeaks…exposed outrageous, even murderous wrongdoing [including] war crimes, torture and atrocities on civilians’
(Feldstein, EB/10, §4).
1.2. Julian Assange’s work, dedicated to ensuring public accountability by exposing global human rights abuses, and facilitating the investigation of and prosecution for state criminality, has contributed to the saving of countless lives, stopped human rights abuses in their tracks, and brought down despotic and autocratic regimes.
1.3. Those who expose grave state criminality, defenders of fundamental human rights, are, and always have been, vulnerable to acts of political retaliation and persecution from the regimes whose criminality they expose. Julian Assange is no exception.
1.4. The law is fiercely protective of human rights defenders. Exposure of state criminality is, in law, a protected political act, the product of a political opinion. Prosecutions ‘on account of’ such acts are straightforwardly prohibited by s.81 of the 2003 Act.
1.5. The history of this prosecution, between Mr Assange’s exposures in 2010 and 2011 and the indictment in 2018, is a textbook example of political persecution. The course of this case since 2011 is simply extraordinary. It involves, inter alia, U.S. Governmental plots to interfere with judges who investigate the matters Mr Assange exposed; to silence the International Criminal Court (ICC) who have taken up Mr Assange’s disclosures; and to kidnap and rendition Mr Assange himself, or else murder him. What follows below is conduct of the type one would normally expect from a military dictatorship. The DJ failed to act upon (or even address) these issues from the perspective of s.81 because (despite having the law drawn squarely and repeatedly to her attention) she failed to recognise or acknowledge that exposure of state criminality is, in law, a protected ‘political’ act, engaging s.81.
1.6. The evidence in this case has, moreover, developed since the DJ’s decision in January 2021. Investigations in America now provide a fuller picture of the U.S. state-level plans to kidnap, rendition and murder Mr Assange. They also reveal that the initiation of criminal proceedings in this case – by a criminal complaint in December 2017 resulted after obstacles (some reported as having been erected by the U.K.) to those criminal plans.
1.7. The prosecution that the U.S. were forced to resort to instead, commenced in 2018, is no less extraordinary. (a) It is unprecedented in law. (b) It cuts clean across established principles of free speech. (c) To deal with that, it anticipates a trial at which Mr Assange, as a foreigner, can be denied reliance on the First Amendment (d) indeed, a trial outwith protections of the U.S. Constitution altogether, and (e) is accompanied by exposure to a grossly disproportionate sentence. In short, the circumstances of the prosecution are so stark and unusual that they engage bars to extradition in their own right.
1.8. As to the circumstances of the ensuing extradition request. (f) It violates the prohibition on extradition for political offences expressly provided for in the relevant treaty and under international law. (g) It deliberately misstates the core facts. The DJ took these issues one by one and reasoned that none offended the 2003 Act. For reasons which follow, she was plainly wrong in multiple respects.
1.9. But even if she were right on each of these issues when viewed separately, the DJ then needed, but failed entirely, to stand back and examine what they cumulatively told her about the political origins of this case. They were all, in short, individually and cumulatively, the clearest evidence of a prosecution mounted ‘on account of’ Mr Assange’s political opinions – namely his stated and proven commitment to the exposure of U.S.-state-level criminality.
1.10. These Perfected Grounds of Appeal, served in accordance with Crim PR r.50.20(5), are structured as follows:
1.11. Part A: addresses Ground of Appeal 1, namely that the judge wrongly rejected the argument that the request was being made for the purposes of prosecuting or punishing Julian Assange for his political opinions, and therefore barred by s.81(a).1 Accordingly Part A provides an overview of the history of this matter, and explains the over-arching s.81 case the DJ failed to engage with. This includes:

(i) Section 2: the evidence before the DJ concerning Mr Assange’s political opinions;
(ii) Section 3: the evidence before the DJ about the criminality Mr Assange exposed.
1 Ground 1 also encompasses the allegation of abuse of process, by reason of ulterior motivation of the request and the underlying prosecution, which is dealt with in Part D.
(iii) Section 4: The law the DJ ignored;
(iv) Section 5 and 6: the other evidence before the DJ concerning the origins of the 2018 prosecution.
(v) Section 7: The DJ’s decision
1.12. Part B: addresses Grounds of Appeal 2 to 6. That is the various egregious aspects of the prosecution, eventually commenced in 2018, which individually bar extradition, regardless of
s.81; including: (i) Section 9: An unprecedented prosecution (Ground of Appeal 2: Article 7 ECHR);
(ii) Section 10: A prosecution for protected speech (Ground of Appeal 3: Article 10 ECHR);
(iii) Section 11: A prosecution designed to secure a guilty verdict (Ground of Appeal 4: Article 6 ECHR);
(iv) Section 12: A prosecution with no Convention Rights protections at all (Ground of Appeal 5);
(v) Section 13: Followed by a grossly disproportionate sentence (Ground of Appeal 6).
1.13. Part C: addresses Grounds of Appeal 7 to 8. That is the aspects of the ensuing extradition request which individually bar extradition, regardless of s.81; including:
(i) Section 14: An extradition request for political offences, in violation of the treaty and international law (Ground of Appeal 7);
(ii) Section 15: An extradition request which deliberately misstates the core facts, unfairly improperly and inaccurately (Ground of Appeal 8).
1.14. Part D: returns to s.81 and abuse of process (Ground of Appeal 1), as the DJ ought to have done, in Section 16. Finally, Sections 17 and 18 address the new evidence in this case.”

Screenshot from ‘Collateral Murder’ video released by WikiLeaks.

There follows a further 147 pages of outstanding legal argument, including compelling evidence. The summary of the crimes of the U.S. Government exposed by Julian Assange at pages 9 to 18 is simply mind-blowing. That section starts thus:

“Every single one of the five ‘national security’ publications that are the subject of this extradition request exposed U.S. Governmental involvement in crimes of the first order of magnitude. These disclosures exposed irrefutable evidence of, inter alia, illegal rendition, torture, and black site C.I.A. prisons across Europe, as well as aggressive steps taken to maintain impunity and prevent the prosecution of any American operatives involved in these crimes. The following represents the unchallenged evidence before the DJ of the atrocities Mr Assange exposed.”

Here is just one example of the ensuing evidence:

“3.3. Mr Stafford-Smith’s unchallenged evidence was that cables, for example, revealed by WikiLeaks regarding U.S. government drone killings in Pakistan ‘contributed to [subsequent] court findings that U.S. drone strikes are criminal offences and that criminal proceedings should be initiated against senior U.S. officials involved in such strikes’ (Stafford-Smith, EB/22, §84, 91). ‘Those were very important in litigation in Pakistan’ (EB/40 Tr 8.9.20, xic, p4). The Peshawar High Court ruled, inter alia, that the drone strikes carried out by the C.I.A. and U.S. authorities were a ‘blatant violation of basic human rights’ including ‘a blatant breach of the absolute right to life’ and ‘a war crime’ (Stafford-Smith, EB/22, §91). What ‘we have to term criminal offences were taking place’ (EB/40 Tr 8.9.230, xic. p4). Moreover, and as a result, ‘the drone strikes, which were in their hundreds and causing many…innocent deaths, stopped very rapidly’ such that ‘there were none reported…in 2019’ (Stafford-Smith, EB/22, §93). WikiLeaks had ‘put a stop to a massive human rights abuse’ (Stafford-Smith, EB/22, §92-93). ‘Pakistan was an American ally. It was not like we were doing that to an enemy, and that again is just extraordinary to me’ (Stafford-Smith, EB/40 Tr 8.9.20, re-x, 26-
27). Without the WikiLeaks disclosures, it ‘would have been very, very different and very difficult’ to prevent this crime (Stafford-Smith, EB/40 Tr 8.9.20, xic, p5).”

There is much other material in the appeal which the U.S. and U.K. governments would not wish to be rehearsed in public:

“Secondly, the report provides further, corroborative, evidence (not available to the DJ) of the fruit of the resulting ‘no limits’ discussions. Namely, the emergence of U.S. Governmental plans about which Witness 2 (EB/2) gave evidence to the DJ to:
(i) Kidnap Mr Assange:
‘This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the C.I.A.’s proposals to abduct Assange’ (p2)
‘Pompeo and [Deputy C.I.A. Director Gina] Haspel wanted vengeance on Assange. At meetings between senior Trump administration officials after WikiLeaks started publishing the Vault 7 materials, Pompeo began discussing kidnapping Assange’ (p18)
(ii) In order to rendition Mr Assange to the U.S.:
‘Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition. The idea was to ‘break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want,’ said a former intelligence official’ (p18)
(iii) Or else murder Mr Assange:
‘Some senior officials inside the C.I.A. and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request ‘sketches’ or ‘options’ for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred ‘at the highest levels’ of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. ‘There seemed to be no boundaries’’ (p1)
‘Some discussions even went beyond kidnapping. U.S. officials had also considered killing Assange, according to three former officials. One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the C.I.A. could assassinate Assange and provide him ‘options’ for how to do so’ (p20) ‘agency executives requested and received ‘sketches’ of plans for killing Assange … said a former intelligence official. There were discussions ‘on whether killing Assange was possible and whether it was legal,’ the former official said’ (p20).”

Swift dismisses the 150 page appeal in just three pages, with a curt and sneering rejection.

“There are 8 proposed grounds of appeal. They are set out at great length (some 100pp), but the extraordinary length of the pleading serves only to make clear that the proposed appeal comes to no more than an attempt to re-run the extensive arguments made to and rejected by the District Judge.”

Swift then stipulates that if Assange’s lawyers apply for a hearing for their request for an appeal to be heard, then that hearing will be limited to 30 minutes.

Furthermore, he limits Assange’s defence to just 20 pages. 20 pages and 30 minutes (the latter being the time for the entire hearing, including the response by the U.S. government). That is the value Swift places on pleadings for a man’s life. Swift even aims a prim taunt at the defence: “The present grounds of appeal are unwieldy and do not comply with any known rules of pleading”.

Swift states that “the issue is the one posed by section 103 of the 2003 (Extradition Act); ought the judge to have decided a question at the extradition heariing differently”. Swift then subjects this “issue” to impossible constraints. The judge’s evaluation of fact nor their assassment of argument can be revisited. He also objects to new evidence, even though new evidence at appeal is specifically allowed by the Extradition Act.

Swift’s background is as a government lawyer. He revealed something of himself in this interview with a legal magazine, where he stated that:

“Favourite clients were the security and intelligence agencies. ‘They take preparation and evidence-gathering seriously: a real commitment to getting things right.’”


“What really matters is that the bond of confidence between Executive and Judiciary is maintained.”

But perhaps even more revealing is that in this brief interview about his career, he chooses to throw in an entirely gratuitous and pointed anecdote about how unpleasant left wing people are, which perforce implies he was coming from an opposite position:

“The first member of his family to go to university and the first to be a lawyer, he remembers his welcome at New College. ‘I unpacked and knocked on the door opposite to introduce myself. ‘Hello, I’m Jonathan,’ only to get the response ‘I’m Dave. I’m a Militant. F*** off!’’ After all, it was the mid-1980s.”

It is perfectly plain what Swift is, and that he could be entirely relied on to dismiss Assange’s appeal with no discussion of any difficult subject matter on state crimes.

In the District Court, Judge Baraitser ruled against Assange on the eight grounds, but had ruled for him on the grounds of mental health and U.S. prison conditions. This resulted in the complicated process of successive High Court appeals.

First the United States was permitted to appeal on health and U.S. prison conditions. After they won, it was Assange’s turn to appeal on those other eight grounds, on which he had lost at the District Court.

The difference between the High Court treatment of the U.S. appeal, which was accepted and eventually won, and Assange’s appeal, which is dismissed out of hand, is highly instructive.

The U.S. appeal turned very largely on new evidence. That consisted of new diplomatic assurances from the USA in which they stated that Assange would not be placed in a super-max prison pre-trial and would not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures – unless it became necessary to do so.

These “assurances” could have been given during the original hearing but were not, because of course the U.S. has every intention of placing Julian in super-max prison. Judges Burnett and Holroyde, ruling in favour of the USA, airily stated that the new assurances were admissible because assurances were not “evidence”:

“A diplomatic note or assurance letter is not “evidence” in the sense contemplated by section 106(5)(a) of the 2003 Act: it is neither a statement going to prove the existence of a past fact, nor a statement of expert opinion on a relevant matter. Rather, it is a statement about the intentions of the requesting state as to its future conduct …”

So they ruled that, while new evidence is excluded, new “assurances” are not, a bit of special pleading they simply picked out of their capacious arses.

Compare this to the evidence submitted by Assange that the USA spied on his legal defence team and plotted to kidnap him, while actively discussing his assassination. That is excluded on the basis that it is “new evidence”, and on the fact that it is in part based on journalistic reports. The fact that the U.S. government’s star witness has admitted he lied and gave his evidence for money, has also been dismissed on the grounds that information is available from journalistic reports.

Yet a media interview with one of the psychiatrist witnesses for Julian Assange, introduced by the U.S. as part of their High Court appeal, was accepted, and not excluded as either “new evidence” or a “press report”.

You can read the entire the Burnett and Holroyde judgment, discussing the District Judge’s assessment of the evidence of Julian Assange’s mental health and U.S. prison conditions, and it is impossible not to conclude that they are absolutely “second guessing the original judge’s evaluation of the facts and assessment of the arguments”.

There is literally nothing else they are doing.

Therefore, in finding for the USA appeal, the High Court conducted precisely the exercise which Swift rules is out of order when argued for the other side of the case, for the Assange appeal.

My favourite bit of stinking hypocrisy from Holroyde and Burnett comes at para 45:

“Extradition proceedings are not private law proceedings but a process through which solemn treaty obligations are satisfied in the context of a framework which ensures that a requested person is provided with proper safeguards.”

The phrase “solemn treaty obligations are satisfied” should cause an immediate revulsion. The Treaty in question is the U.S./U.K. Extradition Treaty of 2003, and it states at Article 2 that there can be no political extradition.

The District Court ruling, specifically upheld by Swift now, is that the U.K./U.S. Extradition Treaty has no legal standing and therefore the bar on political extradition it contains does not apply. Swift accepts the argument, that as the 2003 Extradition Act does not include a bar on political extradition, that provision of the Treaty does not apply.

The Extradition Treaty, Swift baldly states, is “not justiciable”, ie cannot be taken into legal account.

How it can both be that, and be a “solemn obligation” at the base of these entire proceedings, is an extraordinary contradiction which worries none of these judges in their concern to quickly and efficiently impose the brute force of the state. The entire process is designed as punishment for Assange’s unauthorised revelation of truth.

How an extradition can take place specifically under a Treaty whose provisions cannot be applied to that extradition, is a logical conundrum to which only the sophisticates of the U.K. judiciary could adapt their flexible intellects and – more to the point – consciences.

The executive will always find the judiciary needed to do its dirty work. Any executive. There may be occasional blips in periods of political convulsion. There was a temporary standoff with the Supreme Court over facets of Brexit, for example. But the judiciary will realign themselves with the executive in quick time. The power of the State is the constant.

Julian’s persecution has nothing to do with the law. It is a simple demonstration of the crushing power of the state.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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