Espionage is a political crime, so extradition is illegal, Assange's lawyer told the UK court.
LONDON: Julian Assange The lawyer argued in a London court that the extradition of the Australian whistleblower to the United States would be illegal since the espionage crimes he is accused of are political crimes.
Edward Fitzgerald QC told Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday that Article 4 of the 2003 Anglo-American Extradition Treaty prohibits extradition for political crimes or any crime directed against the state. He said that the 18 charges in the United States indictment, which underlie the extradition request, relate to obtaining or disclosing US state secrets to damage the security of the United States state.
Fitzgerald said the ban on extradition for political crimes was one of the most universally accepted rules of law governing extradition and extraditing Assange would be an abuse of the process.
Assange is fighting extradition to the US UU., Where he is accused of obtaining, stealing and posting classified documents related to security, defense, international relations and US intelligence on WikiLeaks. UU. In a manner detrimental to the security and intelligence services of the USA. UU. their armed forces and that jeopardized their interests abroad.
Fitzgerald highlighted how France blocked the extradition request of the MI5 agent to pass top-secret documents to a United Kingdom newspaper because they were considered political crimes.
James Lewis QC, representing the US, argued that the United Kingdom ’s 2003 Extradition Act was silent on political offences and that that act governed Assange’s extradition rather than the 2003 United Kingdom -USA extradition treaty. He described Assange’s alleged crimes as a “relative political offence” — meaning a common crime with a political overlay.
But Fitzgerald said the US- United Kingdom treaty came into force in the United Kingdom in 2007 after that act. “The principle you shouldn’t be extradited for a political offence is in every extradition treaty in every United Kingdom standard treaty, it is in the and Interpol convention. The UN writes it into every treaty. Espionage is considered a purely political offence. You don’t have to be acting on behalf of another nation state,” he said.
Outside the court building, Assange supporters had erected tents and were camping during the trial. They shouted: Free, free, free, Assange! There is only one decision, there is no extradition.