“I am very worried”, said Friday, June 17 on franceinfo Antoine Vey, lawyer for Julian Assange at the bars of Paris and Geneva, specializing in criminal defense, the press and fundamental freedoms. He was reacting to London’s decision to extradite Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeakscurrently in a London prison since 2019. The lawyer announces that he will appeal “on all levels and on all fronts” because he fears that this decision is in reality “a form of license to torture.”
franceinfo: Are you worried about your client?
Antoine Vey: Yes, I am very worried. I was with him this morning in the parlor when the decision was announced. We don’t have phones in the visiting rooms, so I learned about the decision in the prison parking lot and I know he’s going to learn about it in the next few minutes. I found someone very distressed, very weak. Like everyone who knows Julian Assange, I am in a deep state of concern. He is still sometimes presented as a terrorist, but I would like to remind you that all this terminology must be debunked. We are talking about a drama that revealed true information, that’s what we blame him for. We can discuss the methods and the meaning of all this but he is a journalist who brought war crimes to the attention of the world, actions that were illegal and that is why today he is in prison. . He is more and more anxious about the decision which is rendered and which is a form of license to torture. We must not be fooled by the commitments made by the United States. All the commitments in this case have been systematically put in the trash. We know very well that Julian Assange in the United States will not have a fair trial. It is those who present themselves as victims of what he is being prosecuted for who hope to be able to believe that they will organize a fair trial. Which is impossible in the United States. He will be subjected to a treatment that will isolate him.
He is more and more anxious about the decision which is rendered and which is a form of license to torture.Antoine Vey, lawyer for Julian Assange
Why are you talking about license to torture?
Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen once he’s on American soil. No one will know where he is, no one will be able to visit him. He will be subjected to extremely violent treatment. The whole world knows it. Just because the United States is a great democracy in some ways doesn’t mean the whole world doesn’t know that yes there are tortured prisoners in this country. They are in special camps. Chelsea Manning [lanceuse d’alerte] was moved and even her lawyers, even her family did not know where she was for several months. This is the treatment that will be reserved for Julian Assange.
Are you going to appeal this decision?
Yes, everything will be done on all levels and on all plans to ensure that he is not extradited to the United States. There are several types of appeal that will be initiated: domestic appeals within the 14-day UK deadline and international appeals because it is true that this decision is so questionable that we would forget that the United Kingdom is part of international conventions that protect the right of everyone to have decent conditions and a fair trial. I am not confident about these remedies. It’s a fight. Once extradited, things will become extremely difficult because the United States is the United States. This man has absolutely no business in a prison today. Its action has revealed war crimes to the world, its action has contributed to better informing the public about the methods used by those who run certain great democracies. In fact, I believe that any citizen, if he wants to be able to exercise his fundamental freedoms, must be able to have a critical sense and therefore good information and true information. In this sense, Julian Assange’s fight, which was perhaps ideological or political, had the right to be fought and in reality the United States – or rather the American services – legalized this problem against him for the silence him, put him in prison and render him incapable of action, which is happening before our very eyes.
This man has absolutely no business in a prison today.Antoine Vey, lawyer for Julian Assange
British justice did not consider that an extradition would be oppressive, unjust or contrary to the human rights of Julian Assange. Several human rights organizations denounce a serious attack on the freedom of the press today but can we really reveal everything on the internet, without rules? Some major newspapers have also denounced these methods?
The world, The Guardian and the New York Times who broadcast – in connection with WikiLeaks – Countless news outlets have none of their journalists in prison and none are facing 175 years in prison. There is therefore truly a political relentlessness and a persecution that only falls on him because he is the figure of what the services want to achieve. Second thing, the British justice validated his extradition but it did not validate the fact that his state of health did not allow it. The British judge who had opposed this extradition had done so on the basis of expert opinions which have never been contradicted. Today, he is a man whose state of health does not allow him to defend himself or to consider extradition. I think we need the support of any person of good will who has the need to inform themselves, not to consider that this is a fate that does not concern them. This is the whole issue of Julian Assange’s fight, information.