UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The defense of WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange fears he will commit suicide if extradited from the UK to the United States. A warning was made by Australian lawyer Edward Fitzgerald at the Royal Woolwich Court, where hearings on the extradition of Assange to the United States authorities began on Monday.
The lawyer read out a statement by a psychiatrist who examined Assange, who expressed confidence that “if extradition to the United States becomes inevitable, Mr. Assange will find a way to commit suicide.”
Fitzgerald also said that Assange cannot count on a fair trial in the United States, and the severity of the sentence is highly likely to be disproportionate to the crimes attributed to him. The lawyers of the founder of WikiLeaks also fear that he will face “inhuman and degrading treatment” in an American prison.
The United States Department of Justice has filed 18 criminal charges against the Australian. He is charged with crimes related to the largest secret disclosure case in US history. Together, the accused Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.
The process that started on Monday will take four weeks and will be divided into two parts. The first phase will last until Friday, after which a three-month break will be announced in the process. The trial will resume on May 18 and will last another three weeks.
If the request of the American authorities is satisfied, then the authorization for the issuance of Assange will have to be given by the head of the British Ministry of Internal Affairs, Priti Patel. But even in this case, Australian lawyers will have the opportunity to challenge the decision in the High Court of London, and then in the Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights, which can take years.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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