No Supermax for Assange, US Promises in Extradition Appeal

British court agrees to reconsider American case
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2021 6:40 PM CDT
If Extradited, US Tells UK, Assange Won't Face Supermax
Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

In an effort to win the extradition of Julian Assange, the US has told Britain the WikiLeaks founder would not be sent to the Supermax prison in Colorado if convicted. Along with others, the assurance was part of an appeal of a ruling by a British judge in January blocking extradition to the US, the Wall Street Journal reports. The judge has said Assange was likely to commit suicide if held in such conditions, including solitary confinement. The Justice Department also offered to let Assange serve his sentence, if he's convicted, in Australia, his native country. That's unusual, an extradition expert said, because such a request typically is made after conviction under the international prisoner transfer program. The US assurances were revealed by the British court when it announced it will take up the appeal. No date for the hearing was announced.

The US concessions appear to be an effort to wrap up the long battle over whether Assange will be tried on espionage charges by addressing the court's objections. He's wanted in the US on 18 counts, as well as conspiring to hack a military computer, a case launched during the Trump administration. Stella Moris, Assange's fiancée, called on the Biden administration on Wednesday to drop the extradition request and let the case go, per the New York Times. "This case should not be dragged out for a moment longer," she said in a statement. "End this prosecution, protect free speech and let Julian come home to his family." British prosecutors and the US Justice Department declined to comment on the case. The US told the court it would still put Assange in a Supermax cell if he were to do something to warrant it. (More Julian Assange extradition stories.)

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