In a three-page judgment handed down on Tuesday June 6, 2023, UK High Court judge Justice Jonathan Swift rejected Julian Assange’s latest appeal against the US’s extradition order, signed by then UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in June 2022.
As a result, Assange is “dangerously close” to being extradited to the US, according to family members and observers.
Justice Swift’s rejection of all eight grounds of Assange’s appeal leaves one final step in the UK legal system open to his legal team. They have just five working days to submit an appeal to a panel of two judges who will determine the matter in a public hearing.
In a statement released by Andrew Wilkie MP on June 9, 2023 on behalf of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, the UK High Court’s judgement is described as “deeply disappointing” in denying Assange the right to appeal his extradition to the United States. The statement argues that the matter should never have gone before a court of law, since the case has always been an intensely political matter. The statement calls on the US to drop the extradition and discontinue the charges immediately. It also calls on the Australian Government to continue to advocate for an immediate end to Assange’s persecution.
The latest statement by the Assange parliamentary group, follows a letter the group sent to US Attorney-General, the Hon. Merrick Garland in April 2023, calling for the extradition of Assange to be dropped. This letter was signed by 17 Senators and 31 MPs.
As this letter points out, if the extradition request is approved, “Australians will witness the deportation of one of our citizens from one AUKUS partner to another – our closest strategic ally – with Mr Assange facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.”
As supporters of Assange have rightfully argued, the US administration’s use of the Espionage Act to punish journalists and suppress free speech poses a serious threat to democracy. Targeting Assange not only affects him, but it also has dire implications for all journalists and citizens seeking to uncover the truth.
In a separate jurisdiction, Julian Assange has also applied to the European Court of Human Rights to block his extradition.
The Assange Campaign website – the official Australian website in support of Julian Assange.
Reporters Without Borders, ‘UK: Julian Assange dangerously close to extradition following High Court rejection of appeal’, June 11, 2023.
ABC News, ‘Julian Assange will fight UK High Court decision in last option against extradition to the US’, June 9, 2023.