16:38 GMT28 September 2020
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - The husband of the UK judge overseeing Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings to the United States had links to a London-based think tank critical of the WikiLeaks founder around the time his wife made two legal rulings against the whistleblower in February 2018, the Declassified UK media outlet reported on Friday.

    According to the reports, James Arbuthnot, a member of parliament’s House of Lords and a former Conservative minister of defence, was associated with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) when Westminster magistrate Emma Arbuthnot first dismissed a request by Assange’s lawyers to have his arrest warrant for skipping bail withdrawn, following a decision by the Swedish prosecutors to drop an investigation into sexual assault allegations.

    Later on, the judge also ruled out as unreasonable the whistleblower’s fears of being extradited to the US if he was handed over to Sweden, the media outlet that identifies itself as "an outlet covering Britain’s role in the world" said.

    It claimed that around that time, James Arbuthnot was working closely with the HJS and has hosted and chaired events at the House of Lords for the lobby group, which it described as a neo-conservative organisation "with a strongly anti-Assange agenda".

    The HJS has called the whistleblower "bonkers and paranoid" and described Ecuador's asylum to him as "the last seedy bolthole to which Mr Assange thinks he can run", the media added.

    Although as of November 2019 Arbuthnot is no longer formally presiding over the Assange extradition proceedings, the judge has never declared any conflicts of interest in the case and has never formally recused herself and remains in a supervisory role overseeing the trial with her subordinate district magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, Declassified UK added.

    The WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing is set to resume on 7 September at the Central Criminal Court of London and could last three or four weeks.

    Assange has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of conspiring with a source to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for his reporting on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the torture at Guantanamo Bay, for which he could face up to 175 years in prison.

    Tags:
    Wikileaks, lobbyists, judge, Julian Assange, United Kingdom
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