Assange’s wife takes dim view of final appeal

Published 19 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Stella Assange at a press conference on Sunday.

Julian Assange’s wife has little hope for her husband’s appeal and believes the WikiLeaks founder will be extradited to the United States.

– He’s going to end up in a hole so far and so deep in the ground that I don’t think I’ll ever see him again, says Stella Assange.

This week, Assange will likely face his last chance to prevent extradition to the US when he files his appeal against the court order on Tuesday. If the case is heard and his application is rejected, he will have exhausted his legal options in the UK. Assange’s wife believes he is unlikely to succeed in his final attempt to stop the extradition.

– I don’t have hope this will go our way, Stella Assange told Australian public broadcaster SBS News. And even if it were to go our way – meaning he’d have leave to appeal and have his arguments heard in full – then it would mean Julian continues in prison.

If the Wikileaks founder’s application is rejected, it is likely that a new one will be filed through the European Court of Human Rights, but the fear among his legal defenders, and also his wife, is that the UK government may try to put him on a plane to the US before that can happen.

– There are examples where people have been brought from the courthouse… straight to the airport to be flown out on a rendition plane… so we prepare for the worst case scenario, said Kristin Hraffnson, the current editor-in-chief of Wikileaks.

Unclear when a decision will be made

– Julian will be put in a hole if he is extradited, there is no doubt about that, says Stella. He will be put in a hole so far and deep in the ground that I don’t think I’ll ever see him again, she continues.

Last week, Australian parliamentarians tabled a motion to fully exonerate Assange, with the country’s prime minister and others hoping the case could be “resolved by consensus”.

The hearing on Assange’s appeal is expected to last two days, but it is unclear when a decision will be made. It could also be several months before a decision on his extradition to the US is announced.

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Julian Assange is an Australian journalist and the founder of Wikileaks. In 2010, he published a series of classified documents that revealed, among other things, war crimes against civilians committed by the United States during the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Following unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse, Assange was sought for extradition by Sweden in the same year, 2010, and was likely to be extradited to the United States, where he could face the death penalty or life imprisonment. Assange managed to avoid extradition by gaining asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he stayed for seven years until his asylum was revoked in 2019. The journalist was then arrested by British authorities, and in June 2022, the British government ordered his extradition to the United States. Since then, he has been held in a British prison pending an appeal.