by Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media:
A legal decision to be made tomorrow will determine whether the UK will drop its arrest warrant against Julian Assange. The warrant was issued on June 30, 2012 in connection with the Swedish investigation, which never produced charges against him and has now ended. If the UK does drop their warrant, it may force the revelation of a US extradition order against him.
The news comes weeks after it was revealed that Assange has been given citizenship and diplomatic status by the Ecuadorian government, as reported by Disobedient Media. Sweden has already dropped its own warrant against Assange, on which the UK warrant was based.
Earlier today, Assange pointed out via Twitter that February 5th also marks the second year since the UN determined he is: “unlawfully & arbitrarily detained by UK authorities—and must be released & compensated—under international law & treaties the UK has signed.” Despite this, he has been denied the ability to leave the embassy without fear of arrest.
ALERT: UK will decide whether to drop its arrest warrant against me tomorrow 2pm at Westminster magistrates court two years and one day after the UN ruling in my favor (the government appealed on March 24, 2016 and also lost the appeal in later that year). https://t.co/hrPyGrl3Tp
— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) 5 February 2018
Assange further Tweeted regarding the background to his legal situation, providing an article that details important context regarding the history Assange’s detention. The document describes the UK pressuring Sweden in 2013 to continue its investigation into the Wikileaks co-founder after Sweden expressed an intention to drop the matter.
The article also indicates that: “the Obama administration looked at dropping the case against Julian after he obtained asylum but changed its mind in 2013 due to his rescue of Edward Snowden from Hong Kong.” This is particularly important because it illustrates that the continued detention of the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief is based primarily on retaliatory efforts from the US intelligence community, not on any concept of serving Justice.
Obama’s decision not to allow Assange’s freedom specifically due to his efforts to aid Edward Snowden is incredibly significant. Assange must have been aware of the implication that would result in aiding Snowden. This indicates that Assange effectively sacrificed the possibility of freedom to help a whistleblower escape the ire of the US.
That Assange’s decision to aid Snowden affected the treatment he later received regarding his freedom is further illustrated by paragraph 75 of his original September 2014 submission to UNWGAD. The passage officially confirms that the UK pulled out of safe passage negotiations because of the Snowden rescue:
The American power structure proved through its treatment of Chelsea Manning that it is only interested in punishing truth-tellers that reveal its wrongdoing. The United States’ treatment of Manning, Snowden and Assange belies its claim to liberal ideas or moral authority under a pretense of Democracy.
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