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A group of 152 eminent legal experts and 15 lawyers’ associations from around the world have today issued an open letter to the British government, documenting a long list of legal abuses perpetrated against Julian Assange. They write that the UK government is legally obligated to grant “Mr Assange his long overdue freedom—freedom from torture, arbitrary detention and deprivation of liberty, and political persecution.” Their letter was released just days after Assange’s most recent UK court appearance on Friday, which deepened the legal travesty he has been subjected to. The WSWS published a Perspective article on Saturday characterising this show trial as “a cruel and pseudolegal farce.” At the eleventh hour, his persecutors in the United States government introduced a new indictment of Assange, less than a month before his extradition hearing is due to resume on September 7. “The US government seems to want to change the indictment every time the court meets, but without the defense or Julian himself seeing the relevant documents,” said WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson. If extradited, Assange faces 175 years in a US Federal prison. Assange’s lawyers are now confronted with an impossible choice: either they accept that the September hearing will proceed despite having had no timer to prepare arguments or evidence against the new indictment, or they appeal for a delay, prolonging Assange’s life-threatening detention. Friday’s court appearance proceeded under a veil of secrecy. Only five journalists were allowed in the courtroom, while dozens more journalists and international observers dialling-in by phone were not connected. As the WSWS Perspective states: The state conspiracy against Julian Assange is the spearhead of a sustained offensive against democratic rights targeting the working class. Assange’s crime in the eyes of his persecutors is his exposure of imperialist war crimes and diplomatic intrigues that galvanized mass oppositional sentiment around the world. The WSWS renews its call for the international working class to come to Assange’s defense. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/17/assa-a17.html
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