In Great Britain, a court decision is imminent on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be extradited to the USA. Cross-party politicians from Germany speak out in favor of releasing Assange – and warn of the consequences a transfer to the USA would have for the 49-year-old and freedom of the press.
“An extradition of Julian Assange to the USA, where he is not facing a fair trial and up to 175 years imprisonment, would endanger his life and would also set a precedent for journalists and whistleblowers all over the world,” argued Sevim Dagdelen ( Left), Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP), Frank Heinrich (CDU), Frank Schwabe (SPD) and Margit Stumpp (Greens), members of the Bundestag working group “Freedom for Julian Assange”.
Schwabe, the human rights policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, said: “Julian Assange was deliberately exposed to severe forms of cruel and inhuman treatment for several years.” A pardon was necessary “for humanitarian reasons alone.”
The FDP human rights expert Gyde Jensen criticized the way the British judiciary dealt with Assange. The London procedure is described by experts as politically motivated. “We in Europe must not give the impression that other standards of rule of law and universal human rights are being applied in court proceedings with particular political relevance,” said Jensen, who chairs the Bundestag human rights committee.
»Show trial that took place almost entirely to the exclusion of the public«
Left-wing politician Dagdelen called on the British government to prevent Assange’s extradition, even if it was judged accordingly. She called the court hearings a “show trial that took place almost entirely without the public.” According to her office, Dagdelen wants to travel to London for the verdict on Monday.
The working group also referred to the critical health of the whistleblower. Assange is currently being held in a UK maximum security prison.
In an interview with SPIEGEL, Assange’s partner Stella Moris said that Assange’s prison conditions in the United States were tantamount to a death sentence: “There is a terrible vegetation waiting there, a kind of life-long death penalty that Julian would not survive long.” Moris and Assange were in the Ecuadorian region during his stay Embassy in London became a couple.
The US judiciary wants to bring Assange to justice for the publication of classified documents and violations of the anti-espionage law. If convicted, the founder of the WikiLeaks platform could face up to 175 years in prison. WikiLeaks posted hundreds of thousands of classified papers on the Internet in 2010 and 2011, mainly on the Iraq war.
Assange was arrested in the UK in April 2019 after spending seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.