That the United States government will speedily see its extradition demands met in the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been in increasing doubt over much of the past year as the US side must prove based on UK law that he won’t face cruel or torturous confinement.

If extradited Assange is facing life in prison on espionage charges, likely at the Colorado supermax where inmates spend 23 of 24 hours a day in solitary confinement inside a small cell; however, this week the US government is trying to give “assurances” to a UK court that he “won’t be held under the strictest maximum-security conditions if extradited to the US,” according to new Wall Street Journal reporting on Wednesday.

On this very basis of Assange likely facing cruel confinement if extradited to US soil, a UK court previously blocked his extradition in January, but on Wednesday the UK ruled in favor of a US appeal.

During the January ruling the judge reasoned that he would be a suicide risk based on his delicate psychological state – having spent much of the last decade of his life confined – first inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London while on the run, and since his apprehension from the embassy inside the high security Belmarsh prison.

As part of a “package of assurances” the US also said it would allow Assange to choose to serve any jail time in his native Australia if convicted:

“The U.S. has given the U.K. a package of assurances that Mr. Assange won’t be held at ADX, a maximum-security federal penitentiary in Colorado, or subject to extra security measures, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said in an email, potentially removing the main bar to his extradition,” WSJ continues.

All of this appears but a ploy to get him into US custody. An “assurance” is just that… in reality nothing more than a “but trust me” and a wink, given that once legally in US detention all bets are off – a prior “assurance” to a foreign state has no legal bearing on his fate at that point.

As WikiLeaks itself has lately pointed out, the US legal team looks increasingly desperate, hence these latest empty “promises” in order to keep the extradition proceedings alive.

Republished from with permission

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