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Consortium News

July 8th 2021

The UK has permitted the US an attempt at appeal against the decision not to extradite Julian Assange, but it has ruled out a challenge to the expert medical opinion forming the basis of the decision, and within the context of what Britain considered an oppressive US prison system. With limited options, the US has made a promise not to impose the Special Administrative Measures (solitary confinement) - a promise previously broken in the case of Abu Hamsa, a prisoner who had lost both hands. In the September 2020 extradition hearing, lawyer Lindsey Lewis said the UK had imposed this condition for humanitarian reasons, but once on US soil, Hamsa was placed in isolation. Avoiding the argument that the US prison system is not oppressive, the US has said it will allow Assange to be imprisoned in Australia, should he be extradited, tried in the US and convicted. Such a process could take many years, during which he would be held in the Alexandria Detention Centre, which is a SAMs enabled facility. The US is also facing the difficulty of having lost a key witness, Sigurdur Thordasson - aka Siggi the Hacker - who recently confessed to Stundin journalists in Iceland, that he had lied to the FBI, and handed over evidence that they had acted on false testimony and groomed their witness. All depends on the UK but on the face of it, the US case against Assange appears to be on thin ice. With us to discuss these matters are Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks; Bjartmar Alexandersson, journalist with Stundin; Ögmundur Jónasson; Iceland's Minister of the Interior in 2011-2013; Alexander Mercouris, our UK legal analyst; and Julian Hill MP, an Australian Labor Party politician. Presented by Joe Lauria, Elizabeth Vos and John Kiriakou.

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