A British judge on Wednesday morning denied bail to Julian Assange, a move that will keep the WikiLeaks founder detained in a notorious London prison as the Trump administration appeals the U.K. court's rejection of its extradition request.
"This is absolutely outrageous for the judge to deny Assange bail and to claim that Belmarsh is doing a fine job of handling Covid, even while London is on lockdown," tweeted Shadow Proof managing editor Kevin Gosztola, who has been closely covering the Assange hearings. "Judge proves yet again how captive she is to the U.K. agency interests, which tend to show subservience to the U.S. government."
Journalist Glenn Greenwald echoed Gosztola's criticism of Judge Vanessa Baraitser's decision, noting that "there are no charges pending against Julian Assange in the U.K."
"A U.K. judge denied the U.S.'s request to extradite him, the only place where charges are pending," Greenwald added. "Despite this, the judge just ruled he must remain imprisoned—in a Covid-ridden high-security prison—while the U.S. appeals."
This shows how authoritarian the British judiciary is.
The only thing the US cares about is keeping Assange in a cage, silenced and disappeared.
This gives them the best of all worlds: he stays in prison, with no need to prove he's guilty of anything. That's despotic.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 6, 2021
Baraitser's decision to deny Assange's bail request came just days after she rejected the Trump administration's push to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the U.S., where he would likely face up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents, an act of journalism.
In her ruling, Baraitser made clear that she denied the U.S. request not because of the threat extradition would pose to press freedoms, but because of the brutality of the American prison system.