Last Wednesday, Julian Assange was denied bail. Being in prison puts him at high risk for Covid-19, and having chronic lung issues puts him at extra high risk. I’ve been sick since 3 days after the main extradition hearings ended myself.
IF it wasn’t clear before that Julian Assange’s fears were all correctly founded, it’s definitely, 100% clear to everyone paying attention now. During the hearing Magistrate judge Vanessa Baraitser said the following:
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on Wednesday that Assange was a flight risk and couldn’t be trusted to be released. She repeated hearsay that Assange
would prefer suicide to extradition and appeared to tip her hand by saying there was a “high risk of extradition.”
She told Westminster Magistrate’s Court: “I have heard evidence that Assange would consider suicide before being allowed to be extradited to the United
States. There is a high risk of abscontion.
“No court wishes to keep a defendant in custody, even less so during the emergency we are now experiencing,” Baraitser said. “But Mr Assange’s past conduct
shows the lengths he is willing to go to escape proceedings.”
“Conditions imposed on him last time did nothing to prevent him taking the steps that he did,” Baraitser said. “At the time he made the decision to enter
the Ecuadorian Embassy he was subject to a European arrest warrant. He now faces serious allegations in the US.”
Baraitser dismissed concerns by Assange’s lawyers, that given previous health issues, including a lung problem, a prison was a breeding ground for infection.
“As matters stand today this global pandemic does not of itself yet provide grounds for Mr Assange’s release,” Baraitser said. “This is a rapidly changing
As I was following the emergency bail hearing via live tweets, when Baraitser said the part about “this global pandemic is not yet grounds for Assange’s release, I tweeted something like OK, then what will be? and when will it be? I think I now know the answer to my own question. The answers are never and nothing.
What I mean by that are the legal grounds for his release will be never and nothing. However there are plenty of humanitarian grounds for his release. They mostly include physical and mental health concerns.
Not only that but we have to think about any possible upcoming hearings. It’s 100% impossible to have an evidentiary hearing during a lock-down, when witnesses have to travel overseas to testify. There were many technical issues with the bail application hearing.