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UK Supreme Court Denies Julian Assange's Request To Appeal

The UK Supreme Court has refused to hear Julian Assange’s appeal. Assange asked the Supreme Court to test the US diplomatic assurances not to torture him, on the grounds that they were submitted after the High Court hearing had finished, and thus were never able to be tested in court. Amnesty International says the US assurances are ‘inherently unreliable’.

After the High Court hearing in October, the US submitted diplomatic assurances that it would not detain Assange under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) - a euphemism for conditions such as prolonged solitary confinement, which amount to torture under international law. However they also argued they reserve the right to do so if he does something they do not like. Amnesty International said ‘It is not that difficult to look at those assurances and say: these are inherently unreliable, it promises to do something and then reserves the right to break the promise.’

‘The ban on torture cannot be conditioned on anything he does; it’s an absolute ban. No matter what you do, under international laws, you cannot be tortured.’

‘You don’t have to say that he will absolutely be tortured or ill-treated, you have to say: is it a situation where this person would be at risk of torture? The US has built that risk into these assurances.’

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Irish MP Clare Daly tweeted today: ‘Devastating news. Effectively a green light for flagrant abuse of process by the United States, which was allowed to submit assurances *after* the case had been argued. A crushing blow to the rule of law, a deprivation of #Assange's rights, and a threat to all journalists. Bleak.’

Australian senator Rex Patrick tweeted: ‘The Australian Government should be actively pressing the British Home Secretary @pritipatel not to approve Assange's extradition to the US. Aside from the humanitarian aspect, Assange's case is absolutely critical to #MediaFreedom worldwide.’

The case is now ordered to be sent to the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve Assange’s extradition to the US. The defence however still has another pathway to take. Assange can appeal other points of law from the original Lower Magistrate’s decision, such as the issues of press freedom - which were not upheld in that original decision. That judge, Vanessa Barraitser, had denied the extradition based only on the risk of the oppressive prison conditions on Assange’s health.

Assange’s mother Christine Assange has previously said the ‘process is the punishment’. While the legal battle drags on, Assange is held in torturous solitary confinement. He suffered a stroke in October. A letter from hundreds of doctors warns he is likely to die soon if his conditions do not change.

Aotearoa 4 Assange renews calls for the New Zealand government to raise concerns to our allies the US and UK in regards to global press freedom implications of the charges and imprisonment of Mr. Assange.

‘This is a political prosecution… This will be won politically rather than legally.’ - Clare Daly, Irish MP.

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