Assange's Wife Accuses US of 'Weasel Words' in Extradition Bid

Stella Assange slams US 'weasel words' in Julian Assange extradition case, warns of dire consequences for press freedom if prosecution proceeds.

Salman Akhtar
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Assange's Wife Accuses US of 'Weasel Words' in Extradition Bid

Assange's Wife Accuses US of 'Weasel Words' in Extradition Bid

Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has strongly criticized the diplomatic assurances provided by the United States in its ongoing extradition bid against her husband. The US was given a second chance to submit these assurances to a UK court, but Stella Assange denounced them as insufficient and potentially perilous.

She accused the US of using "blatant weasel words" and failing to provide meaningful assurances regarding Assange's rights as a publisher and journalist. The US assurances state that Assange would be able to rely on First Amendment protections and that the death penalty will not be sought or imposed. However, Stella Assange said the US has not made any undertaking to withdraw the prosecution's previous assertion that Assange has no First Amendment rights because he is not a US citizen.

Why this matters: The extradition case against Julian Assange has significant implications for press freedom and the rights of journalists. The outcome could set a precedent for how governments handle the publication of classified information and whistleblower protections.

Judges are now expected to consider the submission from the US authorities as well as any response from Assange's lawyers at a hearing in May. The UK High Court had previously ruled in 2021 that Assange should be extradited, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2022. Assange is now seeking authorization to scrutinize the extradition order and challenge the initial 2021 verdict in his latest bid for a reprieve.

Stella Assange urged the Biden administration to drop the prosecution before irreversible damage is done, as the family is extremely distressed about Assange's grim expectation of spending the rest of his life in isolation in a US prison. The case is set for a further court hearing in London on May 20, but Assange's lawyers have previously described US assurances in other cases as not "worth the paper they're written on".

Key Takeaways

  • Stella Assange criticizes US assurances in Julian Assange's extradition case.
  • US fails to provide meaningful assurances on Assange's rights as a publisher.
  • Extradition case has significant implications for press freedom and whistleblower protections.
  • Assange seeks to scrutinize extradition order and challenge 2021 verdict.
  • Stella Assange urges Biden administration to drop prosecution before irreversible damage.