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Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn leads protest against Assange extradition to US

Jeremy Corbyn's presence at today's protest outside the High Court was a big boost to Julian Assange supporters

Former Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has led protesters gathered outside the High Court where the US government’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stepped up a gear today.

Corbyn, who was Labor leader from 2015 to 2020, described the dissident journalist as a reporter “in the tradition of fearless journalism” and insisted that Assange’s only crime was to highlight “a truth that was embarrassing to the US”.

The former Labor leader was enthusiastically applauded by a group of Assange supporters who shouted “free Julian Assange” and “jail the war criminals” in the midst of a heavy police presence.  

Meanwhile at the High Court hearing on Wednesday morning, US government lawyers convinced two judges that the psychiatrist report which had prevented Assange’s transfer to the US on espionage charges had “misled” the judge who originally ruled against extradition.

In January, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, ruled that Assange should not be extradited to the US on the grounds that he was at “real risk of suicide”.    

Clair Dobbin QC, acting on behalf of the US government, told the High Court that Assange does not meet the threshold of being “so ill” as to render him unable to resist self-harming in an American prison.

"He has not made the sort of serious attempt on his life or have the history of serious self-harm seen in other cases", Dobbin told the judges.

Assange, 50, has been held at the high security Belmarsh prison in south-east London since April 2019 when he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The final appeal hearing is set to be heard at the high Court on October 27-28.


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