Assange denied access proper right to defend himself in the UK

By Joe Montero

The mistreatment of Julian Assange by the British authorities and legal system has have gone so far that he has now been denied access, to evidence on the application by the United States to extradite him to face charges relating to treason.

Westminster Magistrates Court judge Vanessa Baraitser initially ruled that the defence team would be given only one hour to review evidence, while Assange remained incommunicado in a prison cell, despite facing 17 counts of spying and allegedly helping whisteblower Chelsea Manning leak thousands of classified Pentagon files connected  to the Iraq and Afghan wars.

There is the broader question about whether people have the right to know about what governments are doing, especially when they involve war crimes. The evidence leaked suggests that this has been the case in these wars.

The blocking of normal rights and procedures looks very much like an attempt to restrict the defence, and makes a mockery of the concepts that trails, and judges do not take sides, but weigh up cases on the evidence presented.

It also means that this is a political trial. So much for British democracy, when it can be wheeled in and out at the will of the powerful.

The court ad heard that Belmarsh prison, where the defendant is being held, has refused to allow legal counsel to see their client. This is how Assange got his hour. If this had not come to light, he might not have even got this.

The case resumed later in the afternoon.

This was “outrageous,” according to Wikileaks ambassador Joseph Farrell.

Academy and Grammy award-nominated hip-hop artist M.I.A., who visited Assange in prison last year, said authorities had even denied him simple things like a pen and paper.

She said some books were denied as well due to concerns he could use them to secretly communicate with outsiders.

Meanwhile the Australian government continues to refuse to do anything, and in this way, makes itself complicit in this attempted kangaroo trial of an Australian citizen who stood up for honest, transparent and fair government.

Photo by Henry Nichols/Reuters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *