Julian Assange returns to court to fight extradition
An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was back in court today to do a little tap dance for his freedom. They argue that his extradition case to Sweden over sexual assault allegations is flawed.
According to the Associated Press, defense attorney Ben Emmerson believes that Assange's case relies on several factors.
One of these factors is that allegedly the European arrest warrant issued against him does not accurately describe what happened and that, since the 40-year-old Australian is only wanted for questioning, extraditing him would be unjustified.
While addressing the media Emmerson said that they weren’t trying to vilify Assange's accusers, but he made sure to assert that Assange's sexual conquests were "entirely consensual."
Assange’s classified revelations via WikiLeaks have cast a dark cloud on the military industrial complex, and given the anti-war movement plenty of ammo to use in opposition to American foreign policy. The allegations of sexual delinquency during a trip to Scandinavia last year have besmirched his reputation.
Assange continues to deny any wrongdoing. His supporters have floated the theory that the whole case is a political manipulation. They suggest that it’s an elaborate sideshow geared towards bringing him to U.S., where many intelligence personnel and elected officials would literally like to shoot the messenger.
In other words they think it's a government favor. Following that logic western governments would want him to lose badly so that they can make an example of him. It would also put fear into anyone who was thinking about blowing the whistle on government actitivies in the future.
Not surprisingly, Swedish authorities reject those charges, and on Feb. 24 a British District Court judge ruled in their favor, claiming there is no reason to think he wouldn't receive a fair trial in Sweden.
Assange has promised that he would fight the decision; in the meantime he has been working from the mansion of a wealthy supporter in eastern England. It’s not the worst place to live under house arrest.
On Tuesday, Assange had many supporters in the courtroom with him. Outside the courtroom a small group of protesters were assembled, one of their banners said: "The First Casualty of War is Truth."
Assange complained in an interview last month that his strict conditions have made his daily activities much more difficult. For all intents and purposes they have locked down in a way where they can keep an eye on his every move during the trial.
WikiLeaks has not received any new material in a few months. The last release in April brought even more shame to Guantanamo Bay by offering never-before-published information on those being held there.
The appeal hearing is expected to last until Wednesday. It is likely that the ruling might not be made public for days or weeks. Assange has already said that he would take his case to Britain's Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights if his appeal is rejected.
In the online world, WikiLeaks supporter Anonymous has suggested that confidential U.S. data might just find a way to be leaked online in conjunction with the hearing.