Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Assange extradition protest

Supporters of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange staged a demonstration against his impending extradition to the United States, driving an open-top double-decker tour bus around central London on July 1, 2022. (Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins

In a last-ditch effort to avoid extradition to the United States, lawyers for jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday appealed to the United Kingdom's High Court to block the transfer.

"We also urge the Australian government to intervene immediately in the case to end this nightmare."

Assange's brother, Gabriel Shipton, told Reuters that the Australian publisher's legal team appealed his extradition, which was formally approved by U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel last month.

"We also urge the Australian government to intervene immediately in the case to end this nightmare," Shipton said.

Supporters of Assange held protests ahead of his 51st birthday on Saturday, including one in an open-top double-decker London tour bus that passed by British government buildings in Westminster on Friday. One of the demonstrators, 79-year-old Gloria Wildman, told Agence France-Presse that Assange has "been in prison for telling the truth."

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we; none of us is free," she added.

Myriad human rights, journalistic, and other groups have condemned Assange's impending extradition and the U.S. government's targeting of a journalist who exposed American war crimes. In a Thursday statement, the Australian Journalists Union said that "the charges against Assange are an affront to journalists everywhere and a threat to press freedom."

Assange—who suffers from physical and mental health problems including heart and respiratory issues—faces U.S. charges including Espionage Act violations for which he faces up to 175 years behind bars if fully convicted.

Among the classified materials published by WikiLeaks—many provided by whistleblower Chelsea Manning—are the infamous "Collateral Murder" video showing a U.S. Army helicopter crew killing a group of Iraqi civilians, the Afghan War Diary, and the Iraq War Logs,  which revealed American and allied war crimes.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his freedom since he was arrested on December 7, 2010. Since then he has been held under house arrest, confined for seven years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London while he was protected by the administration of former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, and jailed in London's notorious Belmarsh Prison.

Advocates contested Patel's assurance that the extradition would not be "incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression."

In a video published by WikiLeaks on Friday, Conservative British parliamentarian David Davis said that "the simple truth is, Assange won't get what we think of as a fair trial in the U.S."

"And in addition to that, there's a wider issue of imbalance in the U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty," he asserted. "When America requests an extradition from Britain, they have to have reasonable suspicion and the home secretary must process the request."

"When Britain requests an extradition to America, we have to demonstrate probable cause, and the American secretary of state may process our request, he's not forced to process that request," Davis noted. "The effect of this shows up in the statistics: Many, many more people are sent to America than are sent to Britain to face criminal trial."

The MP added that extradited Britons "face an alien justice system" in which "they're frog-marched in chains, they're jailed with hardened criminals, they're denied access to legal papers, they face really coercive plea-bargain systems which essentially say either plead guilty or face a huge length of time in prison."

"That sort of thing," Davis said, "does not give the sort of justice system that we're used to in the United Kingdom."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo