Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment

Julian Assange has been sentenced  to 50 weeks imprisonment in the UK on charges of skipping bail, which he did by holing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. So he has moved from a virtual prison into a real prison.

Reuters: Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in British jail for skipping bail

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British court on Wednesday for skipping bail when he holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for seven years until police dragged him out last month.

The case in Britain arose after Australian-born Assange, 47, was accused by two Swedish women of sexual assault and rape in 2010. Assange fought through the courts to get an extradition order and the preliminary investigation dropped.

Assange sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid an extradition order to Sweden.

His lawyer argued it was an act of desperation to avoid being passed to the United States to face action over the release of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

But handing down what was nearly the maximum possible sentence, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange he had exploited his privileged position to flout the law and express his disdain for British justice.

“Whilst you may have had fears as to what may happen to you, nonetheless you had a choice,” Taylor told Assange, dressed in a black jacket and gray sweatshirt, at Southwark Crown Court.

“It is difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offence.”

And Assange still faces the possibility he will be extradited to the US.

Reuters: U.S. extradition request for Julian Assange to be heard on Thursday

A request by the United States to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information will be heard by a London court on Thursday.

“Julian Assange will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at 1030 tomorrow for ‘violating his bail conditions’ whilst seeking & obtaining political asylum,” WikiLeaks said.

“On Thursday at 10AM there will be a hearing in Westminster Magistrate Court on the US extradition request,” it said.

The U.S. Justice Department said Assange was charged with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American diplomatic communications.

With the defence support he is likely to have this could be a lengthy process.

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  2nd May 2019

    I just can’t make up my mind about whether Assange should be extradited to the US for releasing all these documents or not.

    While I think it was good for the public to see how the United States military often makes bad calls & carry out gung-ho murders of innocent civilians, with their appallingly devastating firepower, from the relative safety of their aircraft, & then when it gets out, they casually sweep it under the carpet or administer a mere smack on the hand to those responsible because the US Military Investigation & Justice systems seem determined to absolutely minimise the severity of such irresponsible killings & the culpability of those involved, Assange must have known the risk he faced in being pursued remorselessly for publicly breaching the walls of US security & back-room diplomacy way beyond just the Apache Gunship affair in such a stupendous manner.

    If the Yanks get him, he’s a goner. US Justice, the “America uber alles” ONLY Justice they will accept, routinely protects Americans guilty of war crimes, & punishes foreigners & Americans who expose them. Manning is free only because Obama pardoned her.

    (An American patrol, led by an officer, has been shown in an Aljazeera documentary meeting families in awkward discussions & offering “blood money” in Afghanistan – a few thousand dollars per dead innocent family member, calculated on what low value they assume the locals would expect per individual – in recompense for their loss & the loss of earning capacity in the family. It was excruciating to watch the looks on the faces of the surviving family members & village leaders, who, really, had no option but to accept the money offered.)

    • harryk

       /  2nd May 2019

      ‘..offering “blood money” in Afghanistan – a few thousand dollars per dead innocent family member..’

      Ex Gratia payment. After NZBATT, thinking him to be an armed insurgent, mistakenly shot and killed an unarmed member of TNI who posed no danger on the Timor border Aust had to pressure them to cough up.

      • Gezza

         /  2nd May 2019

        Probably. These villagers were grieving, harry. Just ordinary folks – lost wives, sons, brothers. They missed them the same way we would.

        Desperately dirt poor, farmers & goat-herders types, somewhere out back in the hills; they were all squatting on the floor with the US officer & his armed troopers, in room in some mud-brick house, just looking blankly at the officer apologising sincerely on behalf of the United States government for accidentally killing their family members & saying he was authorised by their government to pay them an amount – I think it was something like $10,000 for each victim.

        Such payments are are quite possibly a way of murderer’s families saving one of their own from execution; I’ve heard of this happening with Court approval in some Middle Eastern countries, but this is different.

        The dead victims were all part of a village community where every single person in a family was needed to eke out a living. They HAD to take the money. But I couldn’t help thinking, if they’d dropped a bomb on an American family by mistake during an overflight back home – what would they be paying them out?

  2. NOEL

     /  2nd May 2019

    Is he a journalist will be the deciding factor in extradition.
    If he is how come he has had to rely on actual journalists.
    As for the defence argument he fears Guantanamo.
    What rubbish.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd May 2019

      He can’t be convicted for publishing, only for stealing. They have to get him for conspiring to steal.

      But yes, US justice is not blind and is highly political. Assange has no hope there. They will get him for something, somewhere whatever it takes.