Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 8 January 2021 at 13:09 GMT

'Free Assange' campaigners at the Durham miners' gala in 2019 , photo by Paul Mattsson

'Free Assange' campaigners at the Durham miners' gala in 2019 , photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Judge rules against Julian Assange's extradition but refuses bail

Niall Mulholland, CWI

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, won a partial victory in his long battle to avoid extradition from Britain to the US. District Judge Baraister, at the Old Bailey court, ruled earlier this week against Assange's removal to face criminal charges over classified US secret documents leaked in 2010.

However, the judge ruled on Wednesday 6 January to refuse Assange bail, meaning he will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh high-security prison in London. Assange's defence team argued that Belmarsh prison has high levels of covid infections and that Assange's mental health is deteriorating. His legal defence said they will contest the bail ruling in the High Court.

The US has said that it will appeal the court's decision not to extradite Assange. He faces charges of computer hacking and violating the US's 1917 Espionage Act, which could mean a sentence of 175 years in prison.

Released just over a decade ago, the WikiLeaks revelations shed light on thousands of cases of state torture, war crimes (in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere), state surveillance, corruption and human rights abuses by the US and other imperialist states and their client regimes. For the major powers, the WikiLeaks actions were a very unwelcome and highly embarrassing exposure of the true nature of the capitalist state and imperialism's 'war on terror', and a serious blow against their authority and prestige.

Establishment's vengeance

For years, the US establishment has sought vengeance against Assange and 'whistleblowers' such as Chelsea Manning. The capitalist ruling classes want to forcibly stop or muzzle any serious investigative journalism into the murky and illegal actions and human rights abuses of capitalist states, and the sordid actions of big business.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after the UK's Supreme Court ruled that he could be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations (the charges were later dropped). Assange's legal defence argued, at the time, that this was a ploy to enable his extradition to the US to face trial for the leaks.

Assange remained in small confines in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years until a change of regime in Ecuador saw the betrayal of his right to asylum. Assange was forcibly removed from the embassy by police in April 2019.

After serving 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail, Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh prison, despite serious mental and physical health deterioration, pending the US extradition case. Medical and legal experts, and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, have called for Assange's immediate release from degrading and dangerous confinement and "psychological torture".

While Judge Baraister stopped Assange's extradition to the US on the "substantial" grounds that American prison conditions where he would probably be held in near-total isolation could "risk that Mr Assange will commit suicide", she did not accept the defence lawyers' arguments that the US case against him is politically motivated. The judge, in effect, endorsed the US administration's undemocratic attacks against investigative journalists and freedom of speech and other democratic rights.

The US administration persecutes Assange under the US Espionage Act to get around the rights enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The US Democratic National Committee began legal action in April 2018 against WikiLeaks.

Release Assange - workers' movement defend freedom of speech!

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI - which the Socialist Party in England & Wales is affiliated to) supports the call for the immediate release of Julian Assange and the dropping of all charges against him. We demand an end to his cruel persecution by the Republican administration in the US, and by British authorities, as well as an end to the vindictive state actions against courageous whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

It remains to be seen if the Biden presidency continues or not with this inhumane prosecution.

Freedom of the press and free speech were some of the precious rights won by generations of working-class people fighting against tyranny and oppression. These and other democratic rights must be strenuously defended, and in many cases refought for, by the international workers' movement.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Related links:


triangleLeeds Socialist Party: The US under Biden - what lies ahead?

triangleWill Biden's new foreign policy change the direction of US imperialism?

trianglePost-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

triangleGoodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

triangleG7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power


triangleBobby Sands - Nothing but an Unfinished Song

triangleOne rule for them, and another for us

triangleFree Siyanda Mngaza

triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed


triangleNews in brief

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

triangleTrump victory: Failure of the Democrat establishment


trianglePalestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?

triangleStop Israeli state terror: solidarity protests continue

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Unite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham



Women's health matters



Tamil Solidarity asylum victory



Beth Roper inquest: Train company failures ignored



Make vaccine technology public, nationalise big-pharma



Neonatal leave introduced: Unions must fight for extensions and full pay



Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need



Left candidate needed for Unite general secretary election



If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories


Tory party

Tory splits and infighting growing


Climate change

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism



G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power



Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism



'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'



Capitalism's Covid failings

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021