Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (30 December) on the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange:
I am following with concern the extradition proceedings in the United Kingdom against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the closing arguments submitted in writing in November by the prosecution and defence.
The human rights and humanitarian aspects of a possible extradition must not be overlooked. Julian Assange’s physical and mental state absolutely must be taken into account in the ruling on whether he should be extradited to the United States. In this context, the United Kingdom is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, also with respect to the possible sentence and the conditions of imprisonment.
I will therefore continue to follow the case closely.
The United States is calling for the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on the basis of the US-UK Extradition Treaty. According to the indictment, Assange faces several life sentences if extradited.
Assange has been in extradition custody in high-security Belmarsh prison since September 2019. A ruling from Westminster Magistrates Court, which is hearing the extradition proceedings in first instance, is expected on 4 January 2021.
The losing side can then appeal to the Appeal Court within 28 days of the ruling. If there are appeal proceedings, the losing side could subsequently call on the UK Supreme Court. Once all local remedies have been exhausted, an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights may follow.
As an Australian national, Julian Assange is receiving consular assistance exclusively from his home country, Australia, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The German Government therefore has no information of its own regarding Julian Assange’s prison conditions or state of health.