Washington Provides Assurances to UK That Assange Can Serve Any US-Imposed Sentence in Australia

© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLSA supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange protests outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange protests outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
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In January, a British judge turned down the US request to extradite Assange on the grounds there was a high risk of him committing suicide in American custody. The decision came 18 months after Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged in a US jail, where he was awaiting trial on under-age sex trafficking charges.
The US government has given assurances to the UK WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could serve his sentence in Australia, the country of his birth, if he is convicted in the US, a legal document has shown.
Washington also provided assurances to the Court of Appeal in London that Assange, 50, will be provided with "any such clinical and psychological treatment as is recommended by a qualified treating clinician" at a prison, where he will be kept in custody.
The High Court in London is hearing a two-day appeal by US prosecutors against a ruling by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that the Australian-born Assange should not be extradited to America.
Judge Baraitser said the whistleblower - indicted on 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse - should not be extradited to the US due to a high risk of suicide.
But on Wednesday, 27 October, James Lewis, QC for the US government, said assurances had been given about how Assange would be treated in the US.
Mr Lewis added: "Even without the assurances we maintain that the district judge was wrong to come to the conclusion that she did".
Mr Lewis said Judge Baraitser concluded the psychiatric expert called on behalf of Assange had "misled" her and she should therefore had ruled his evidence as unreliable and sent the case "back to the beginning" to be completely reheard.
A legal document said: "The United States has also provided an assurance that the United States will consent to Mr Assange being transferred to Australia to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him."
Washington also promised not to hold him in the infamous Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) or supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, which holds notorious inmates including Joaquin Guzman aka El Chapo, World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
© Photo : Alfred de ZayasUN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Alfred de Zayas with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in April 2015.
UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Alfred de Zayas with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in April 2015. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Alfred de Zayas with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in April 2015.
Assange's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said in a written submission that Australia had not agreed to take Assange if he was convicted and even if it did the legal process could take a decade "during which Mr Assange will remain detained in extreme isolation in a US prison.''

He also accused Mr Lewis of seeking to "minimise the severity of Mr Assange's mental disorder and suicide risk.''
Mr Fitzgerald said his client "doesn't feel able to attend the proceedings."
Outside court Assange's girlfriend Stella Moris said: "I am very concerned for Julian's health, I saw him on Saturday, he is very thin. And I hope that the courts will end this nightmare, that Julian is able to come home soon. We are very concerned that he is not able to be here, to be able to give instructions to his lawyers."
WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents infuriated the White House and the Pentagon and Assange could face a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison if convicted in the US.
Prosecutors say Assange unlawfully helped US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning - a transgender woman now known as Chelsea Manning - to steal classified diplomatic cables and military files so WikiLeaks could publish them.
Assange's lawyers argue he was entitled to protection under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech because he was a journalist acting in the public interest by exposing US wrongdoing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Lawyers representing the US government are expected to argue Assange was not "so ill" he could not resist harming himself.
Assange is still being held on remand at London's high-security Belmarsh prison pending the outcome of the appeal. He is following the hearing on a video link.
England's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, will reserve judgment on Thursday, 28 October, meaning the outcome will not be known for several weeks. Even if the US government wins the appeal, Assange's lawyers would be free to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
Among the documents WikiLeaks published were assessments of 765 people who had been held at the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay between 2002 and 2008.
The majority of those were detained when a US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 or in Iraq after it was invaded in 2003. WikiLeaks revealed 220 were classed as dangerous terrorists but around 150 were Afghan and Pakistani citizens who had been entirely innocent.
They also revealed that one of the detainees, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, described as "Osama bin Laden's military commander in Tora Bora", was taken by the CIA to Egypt where he was tortured and "falsely confessed that al-Qaeda* operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss obtaining chemical and biological weapons".
Al-Libi later recanted this claim, but it was used by the George W. Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq. The Pentagon said the revelations "could damage anti-terrorism efforts".
*Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries
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