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Julian Assange FREED, but is this justice? Freedom of the press remains up in the air.

No precedent set for freedom of press and a last-minute plea deal for Julian Assange. Is this justice?

After years of pre-trial arbitrary detention, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange entered a plea deal and was released from Belmarsh prison. He has boarded a plane and is expected to return to Australia where he can be closely monitored by allied authorities.

Due Process International founder and expert witness, Radha Stirling, criticised the outcome, “Assange should never have been charged in the first place and held in pre-trial detention for a jurisdictionally overreaching extradition request that should have been tossed out in the lower courts. Keir Starmer and British authorities worked with the US to target a whistleblower journalist to immunise the UK and US from accountability.

“British courts had every legal reasoning to deny the extradition. So the US, in order to save face, decided to offer a plea deal for ‘time already spent’, but is this really justice? The DOJ has increasingly been weaponised against citizens and foreigners, often launching unreasonable charges against people that probably wouldn’t stand in court. But who wants to gamble at trial with their freedom? The absolute vast majority of targets will accept plea deals that keep them out of prison even if the charges are without merit. It’s unfair, abhorrent and a flagrant human rights abuse.

“Other countries should be cautious not to allow the US to expand jurisdiction through the extradition process. Careful review of this risk is needed, both at the UN level and by individual countries."

“Unfortunately, a plea deal means there will be no precedent set for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Whistleblowers in the future will not be protected. Whistleblowers and journalists can expect fake criminal charges, smearing and slandering, lengthy pre-trial detention, solitary confinement and human rights abuses. They can expect their own governments to kowtow to American interests and if it looks like you’re going to eventually prevail, you can finally expect a plea deal for time already spent. The punishment in this case has been the process.

“Although as an extradition expert and one who regularly deals with the DOJ’s weaponisation, I would also have recommend Julian accept the plea deal. However it does not leave me with any sense that justice has been done. Let us also remember, the only reason Julian has been given a plea deal is to take the spotlight off him and for America to save face.

“By now Julian will have arrived Australia, a country that has become more authoritarian over the years. It desperately wants to censor and clamp down on speech. Julian will be able to enjoy very limited freedom under the watchful eyes of US bases in his country.”


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