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article imageUK opposition Labour Party demands PM stop extradition of Assange

By Ken Hanly     Apr 13, 2019 in Politics
London - In the UK, the opposition Labour Party wants the government to halt the extradition to the US of Julian Assange Wikileaks founder. He faces charges there related to his work with Chelsea Manning a whistle-blower revealing brutal US actions in Iraq etc.
Arrest of Assange
Assange spent more than six years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The new government in Ecuador revoked his asylum with the result that British police were allowed to enter the building and arrest him as shown on the appended video.
Assange was actually arrested twice as reported by Al Jazeera: "This first arrest, dramatically played out in front of the media, was for breaching bail and could mean 12 months in prison. But Assange was arrested again later at the request of the United States, which wants him extradited."
A UK court has already found Assange guilty of violating his bail terms when he fled to the embassy back in 2012. He was wanted for questioning in Sweden re charges by two women. The charges have since been dropped. Assange feared that if he went to Sweden he would be extradited to the US.
US charges
US prosecutors claim that if convicted on the charge of " conspiracy to commit computer intrusion" Assange could face five years in prison. Further charges could be filed against him after he is extradited.
A recent article in the Verge reports on the indictment in part: "In the indictment, the government alleges that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified documents. Prosecutors say that Manning accessed classified government files, provided them to Assange, and later worked with Assange in an attempt to crack the password of a classified government network."
The Labour Party position
Diane Abbott, shadow Home Secretary said PM Theresa May should intervene as she had done previously in the case of UK hacker Gary McKinnon. She rejected his extradition request on medical grounds in 2012. McKinnon was also sought by US authorities who charged him with hacking military computers. He faced up to 70 years in prison. Doctors claimed he was a significant suicide risk.
Abbott said to the BBC: "In the end, the then-home secretary, Theresa May, blocked his extradition on what she said were human rights grounds. We think there may be human rights grounds in relation to Assange."
This time May shows no inclination to go counter to US wishes. Quite the opposite, as she welcomed the arrest and her Home Secretary Sajid Javid criticized the Labour Party for supporting a man with "a track record of undermining the UK and our allies and the values we stand for".
The leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corby had praised Assange's exposing of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and argued that the UK should oppose his extradition to the US.
Massimo Moratti, of Amnesty International said that if extradited Assange faced the risks of having his human rights violated and detention conditions that could violate the prohibition of torture and added: "We also consider him at risk of being subject to an unfair trial and even the death penalty can't be excluded a priori. As a result of these risks, the UK at this point is under the obligation not to extradite him or otherwise send him to the US."
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