Tag Archives: British judicial system

Craig Murray: New Legal Hurdles for Julian Assange

If you thought American law was complicated, read Craig Murray’s explanation of what lies ahead for Julian Assange in British courts. From Murray at consortiumnews.com:

Assuming Home Secretary Priti Patel authorizes extradition, the matter returns to the original magistrate’s court for execution. That is where this process takes a remarkable twist.

Middlesex Guildhall in London, home of U.K.Supreme Court. (Tristan Surtel, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

With Julian Assange still, for no rational reason, held in maximum security, the legal process around his extradition continues to meander its way through the overgrown bridlepaths of the UK’s legal system. On Monday, the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal, which was based on the grounds of his health and the effect upon it of incarceration in the conditions of the United States prison service. It stated his appeal had “no arguable legal grounds.”

This is a setback which is, most likely, going to keep him in jail for at least another year.

The legal grounds which the High Court had previously ruled to be arguable were that the U.S. government should not have been permitted to give at appeal new (and highly conditional) diplomatic assurances about Assange’s treatment, which had not been offered at the court of first instance to be considered in the initial decision. One important argument that this should not be allowed is that if given to the original court, the defence could argue about the value and conditionality of such assurances; evidence could be called and the matter weighed by the court.

By introducing the assurances only at the appeal stage – which is only on points of law and had no fact-finding remit – the U.S. had avoided any scrutiny of their validity. The Home Office have always argued that diplomatic assurances must simply be accepted without question. The Home Office is keen on this stance because it makes extradition to countries with appalling human rights records much easier.

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