3:25 p.m., June 17, 2022, amended to 3:42 p.m., June 17, 2022
When Julian Assange met his French lawyer, Antoine Vey, on Friday morning in his London jail, he didn’t know yet. British Home Secretary Priti Patel had just signed the order authorizing his extradition to the United States. This country wants to try the 51-year-old Australian for espionage, because he had contributed in 2010 to the dissemination of tens of thousands of confidential documents concerning American activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Incarcerated in Belmarsh, a high security detention center since April 2019, the founder of WikiLeaks was waiting to be fixed on his fate. ” He hadn’t slept all night, explains to the JDD Antoine Vey. I found him very anxious, withdrawn, badly. »
” He is under a strict solitary confinement regime, despite having committed no crime “Adds the lawyer again. If all hope is not lost, the decision of Boris Johnson’s government has made his situation even more precarious. An appeal will be filed within 14 days in England with the High Court, then before the European Court of Human Rights.
For its defenders, “the accusation is based on nothing”
If he does not win his case, the London prisoner could be transferred to the United States within 28 days, there he risks a sentence of 175 years in prison. In 2010, the current Democratic President of the United States, Joe Biden, then vice-president of Barack Obama, felt that Julian Assange was more like a “ high tech terrorist than to an heir to the investigators of American journalists who in the 1970s exposed their government’s lies about the Vietnam War.
Julian did nothing wrong. He is a journalist and publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job.
” All of this is clearly political persecution, says Antoine Vey. The American intelligence services engage in settling scores by transforming him into public enemy number one. » « We are in a configuration, he continues, in which the accusation is based on nothing, and where no one really knows why he is being held: isn’t it implausible to persecute someone who has published true information? »
“ This is a dark day for press freedom and British democracy, Julian has done nothing wrong. He is a journalist and publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job “said Stella Assange, a lawyer who became the prisoner’s wife, and with whom he had two children in prison. Julian Assange is also supported by several associations of journalists or the defense of human rights.