The U.S. Tuesday filed assurances on the death penalty and the 1st Amendment, the latter of which Stella Assange called a “non-assurance.”

By Joe Lauria, Consortium News

The United States Embassy on Tuesday filed two assurances with the British Foreign Office saying it would not seek the death penalty against imprisoned WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange and would allow Assange “the ability to raise and seek to reply upon at trial … the rights and protections given under the First Amendment,” according to the U.S. diplomatic note.

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange take part in a protest against the NATO leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium June 13, 2021

Assange’s wife Stella Assange said the note “makes no undertaking to withdraw the prosecution’s previous assertion that Julian has no First Amendment rights because he is not a U.S citizen. Instead,” she said, “the US has limited itself to blatant weasel words claiming that Julian can ‘seek to raise’ the First Amendment if extradited.”

The note contains a hollow statement, namely, that Assange can try to raise the First Amendment at trial (and at sentencing), but the U.S. Department of Justice can’t guarantee he would get those rights, which is precisely what it must do under British extradition law based on the European Convention on Human Rights.

The U.S. Department of Justice is legally restricted to assure a free speech guarantee to Assange equivalent to Article 10 of the European Convention, which the British court is bound to follow. But without that assurance, Assange should be freed according to a British Crown Prosecution Service comment on extraditions.

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