On Wednesday, the High Court in London dismissed the appeal by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against his extradition to Sweden on frame-up charges of rape and sexual assault. The hearing took place nearly four months after the two presiding High Court judges, Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley, deferred Assange’s appeal against a February 24, 2011, ruling that he could be extradited.
At the February hearing, District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court perversely ruled that extradition would not breach Assange’s human rights and that he would get a fair trial if he were ever charged in Sweden. Assange’s lawyers have indicated they will appeal the latest decision to the Supreme Court. His legal team have only 14 days to do so and face huge obstacles … //
… The judges dismissed Assange’s offer to answer questions without travelling to Sweden, stating, “In any event, we were far from persuaded that other procedures suggested on behalf of Mr Assange would have proved practicable or would not have been the subject of lengthy dispute.” The decision again underscores the reactionary and arbitrary basis of the EAW system. In February, Assange described the High Court’s proceedings as a “rubber stamping process” and the “result of a European arrest warrant system run amok.”
Speaking after the court hearing, Assange said, “I have not been charged with any crime in any country. Despite this, the European Arrest Warrant EAW is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of the case, as judges have made clear here today.”
Enacted by the European Union in 2003 as part of the so-called “war on terror”, EAWs are now routinely used to extradite people to any EU country without due consideration of the facts of the case against them. Three people are extradited every day from the UK alone on EAWs. Julian Knowles, an extradition lawyer at London’s Matrix Chambers, who is familiar with the Assange case, said that prior to the High Court ruling, “Very, very few people defeat a European Arrest Warrant. The courts in England generally lean in favour of extradition.”
The legal lynching of Assange is part of a strategy by the ruling elite to destroy WikiLeaks. The High Court judges ordered that Assange pay court costs of £19,000. His lawyers indicated that the WikiLeaks founder might not be able to pay them.
As the result of a financial blockade by major US financial institutions—VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America—WikiLeaks has been unable to receive the donations that allowed it to function. WikiLeaks stated recently that “The attack has blocked over 95 percent of our donations, costing tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue,” adding that the “attack is entirely political.”
Last week, WikiLeaks was finally forced to suspend publication and issued a statement reading, “For almost a year we have been fighting an unlawful financial blockade. We cannot allow giant US finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket. Our battles are costly. We need your support to fight back. Please donate now.” WikiLeaks is able to receive donations. (full text).
Read the full ruling, 43 pdf-pages;
WikiLeaks on en.wikipedia;