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This is thread for Day 3 in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing.

Proceedings will focus on argument over whether allegations against Assange amount to “political offenses” under US-UK extradition treaty.

If so, likely improper for judge to approve extradition.
Here is main thrust of defense argument: Julian Assange is charged under US Espionage Act. All charges depend on alleged intent to obtain or disclose US state secrets in manner damaging to US government. These are “political offenses” and unlawful under extradition treaty.
I’ll insert a prediction: Since defense plans to argue espionage is a political offense, the prosecution will lamely argue Assange isn’t charged with espionage but simply charged with offenses under the Espionage Act. Much to add if this is uttered in any form
We’ve started. Edward Fitzgerald, defense attorney, says Assange is on medication and may need a break at some point today
On not extraditing for “political offenses, defense says: “It is an essential fundamental protection, which US puts in every single one of its extradition treaties.” #Assange
Defense notes the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, the crime Assange was charged with before any Espionage Act offenses, is an Espionage Act allegation
Judge stops defense’s argument on why allegations are “political offenses.” Requests defense deal with whether the fact that these are “political offenses” is relevant to extradition treaty #Assange
Defense responds, “Treaty is the basis of extradition request. To have an extradition request, you’ve got to have a treaty.” #Assange
Defense goes on to challenge prosecution’s contention that offenses can be “pure political offenses” and treaty does not allow extradition for such offenses but international law is not domestic law so UK can still extradite #Assange
The judge doesn’t appear to be buying most of what defense contends, but Fitzgerald is saying Assange has due process rights not to be arbitrarily detained under extradition request. That is relevant to UK domestic law. Request based on “political offenses” is therefore unlawful
Defense expressly rejects notion international law is irrelevant, but if one examines prosecution’s justification of request, “Whole sad litany of cases abdicating any responsibility for international law are all cited.” #Assange
Judge is fixed on the UK Extradition Act passed in 2003 that went into force in 2004. Defense emphasizes the US-UK treaty in force was ratified by UK in 2007. It did not discourage reliance on “political offenses” provisions to protect from unlawful extradition. #Assange
Defense: “The more we research this, the more one sees this is a universal norm.” It dates back 100 years. In standard UN model treaty. in European Convention that contains prohibitions on extradition. In Interpol convention. It has universal application. #Assange
From defense’s reply to prosecution, which has come up in this argument from defense. Prosecutors haven’t spoken on this matter in court, but judge is advancing their argument. Defense insists UK 2003 Extradition Act shouldn’t be license to disregard treaty protection #Assange
Saying can’t deny prohibition to extradite for political offense is in treaty, defense adds: “It would be pretty strange if the court was powerless about it.” #Assange
Prosecution disagrees that “treason, sedition, and espionage” are “pure political offenses.” #Assange
Under the umbrella of “abuse of process,” defense is putting a lot in the record that would be useful at High Court, Appeal Court, Supreme Court, or European Court of Human Rights. Because the judge may not be receptive to much of their defense case. #Assange
Defense is making this argument, which I highlighted in April 2019 after Assange was initially indicted. Computer crime charge is really an Espionage Act charge. See 793e of the Act and compare to language in the charge.…
Fitzgerald: Purely political offenses lack essential elements of common crime. Person is acting on basis of their beliefs. That is expressly what is alleged in indictment, crimes committed against United States. “Classic example” of political offenses #Assange
We went into weeds of “purely political offenses” versus “relative political offenses.” Cited as example of a case with a “relevant political offense” was Santhirarajah, which involved purchase of night vision goggles to provide support to Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka... #Assange
...Point is common crimes alleged in relation were exempt from extradition to US because actions were in furtherance of a political cause. US criminalization of dealing with Tamil Tigers was a political stand #Assange
What does this have to do with Assange? The extradition claims crimes were committed against the United States government. These are alleged crimes against a state, which defense believes is political so they aren’t covered by extradition #Assange
“I don’t know how you’re guilty of treason if you’re not a citizen of the US,” Fitzgerald remarks as he highlights the political leaders in US who have called Assange a terrorist or said he committed treason
Defense raises the cases of Katherine Gunn, as well as Alfred Dreyfus #Assange
To lunch. More updates soon.
I'll go over some more aspects of defense's argument before court is back for afternoon.
Assange is accused of violating laws that are designated to "protect political institutions" or "protect the political order." This conduct should be covered by "political offense" exemption in extradition treaty.
Defense highlighted case of David Shayler, who was MI5 officer that blew the whistle on an MI6 plot to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He faced extradition for Official Secrets Act offense. Appeals court in France rejected because it was "political offense." #Assange
A core aspect of criminal allegation(s) against Assange are that his "motivation and purpose" was to damage "work of security and intelligence of US" and "damage capability of armed forces of USA to carry out their tasks and endanger interests" of US abroad.

Defense lists:
Prosecutors, intelligence officials, politicians, and others in US constantly ascribe motives to Julian Assange that accuse him of "hostility" toward the United States. That very fact is evidence to the defense that these allegations are "political offenses."
Court is back. And defense is wrapping up their argument on "political offenses" #Assange
Fitzgerald: "Abuse to say we can charge you with political offense, although it’s contrary to treaty, but you can’t do anything about it." #Assange
Prosecution begins rebuttal for the day. Asserts the core argument, "Mr. Assange is entitled to the substantive protection of the Treaty," is wrong.
James Lewis: Not entitled to derive any rights from the extradition treaty, treaty not incorporated into domestic law. Only when incorporated in domestic law can one claim statutory rights. #Assange
Lewis: "Assange has no right to argue a political offense exception." Parliament abrogated that right when it passed the UK Extradition Act in 2003. [Making this claim because treaty is silent on exception.]
Lewis: "Not simplistically, as Mr. Fitzgerald would have it, that you can have [political offense exception] cause this crime is called espionage or treason" and "that automatically makes it political offense within meaning of English law." #Assange
If I understand correctly, Lewis argues—although the US-UK extradition treaty has "political offense" exception—court must apply the 2003 UK Extradition Act, which is silent on "political offense" exception, even if in "breach of international law." #Assange
Judge stops proceedings, asks if Assange is having trouble concentrating. Does he need break?

Assange stands to make statement. Judge interrupts, maintaining unusual for defendants to speak in court. She tells Assange to stop. Court in break for Assange to speak with attorney.
@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews For several months, the press has heard complaints from Assange and his legal team that he has very, very limited time to consult with and speak to his attorneys. And when he does, he has no privacy for privileged communications
@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews We're on break until this settles down. It likely will not be resolved because the judge isn't going to do anything that would satisfy Assange or help him feel like his rights aren't being so violated.
@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews Court is coming back. Here is another account of what unfolded in courtroom:

@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews Defense says it will make application for bail so Julian Assange can sit with defense attorneys.
@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews Prosecutor James Lewis is being more sensible than the judge. He says a security guard could still be on either side of Assange. Judge seems to believe he would no longer be in custody if no longer in dock so dismissive of request.
@jamesdoleman @benlewismedia @SBSNews Prosecutor James Lewis: From prosecution’s point of view we take a neutral stance. We’re not sure a bail application would be most appropriate
Judge says defendant surrenders to the dock of court and "release from the dock requires an application of bail."

But incredibly, the prosecution disagrees! They're okay with figuring out how it would be permissible for Assange to sit in well of court with attorneys
So we're all supposed to proceed like this is normal and totally reasonable when it is completely preposterous #Assange
Lewis says the UK Extradition Act took "radical approach as it was treaty-free," which means US had not yet ratified when came into force. "It may be slightly surprising to other foreign states," but treaty has no force in English law #Assange
Lewis adds it is merely agreement between two governments setting out their hopeful positions. (Judge said something here and I believe she was accentuating his point.) #Assange
Lewis: You can’t say we’re not prosecuting this terrorist because he tried to commit treason or any other acts.
No such thing as political offense in ordinary English domestic law #Assange
These are the kinds of arguments that make your eyes dry out, and your mouth feel parched. But one has to pay close attention because it's in these overscrupulous arguments from prosecutors that judges seek refuge to avoid challenging authority #Assange
Again, if I have this right, Lewis says political offense exception was abolished by omission by Parliament. So he is saying judge must only apply what was proscribed in the Extradition Act itself. #Assange
This obviously is contested by defense. Lewis says, "You can’t introduce [political offense] as abuse of process cause there always has to be prejudice caused by prosecution."

I don't follow entirely, but on its face, he says no bad faith on part of prosecution #Assange
Lewis agrees defense is right about Shayler case. Official Secrets is "pure political offense."

"[But] we don't extradite for pure," Lewis insists. "Not approach ever in England or United States" #Assange
Prosecution quibbles with Castioni, a case cited by defense from late 1800s, because it involved offense of "political character," not a "political offense." #Assange
Fitzgerald says he's received instructions that Assange has had enough for the day.
Fitzgerald wants to know if he can meet with Assange before proceedings tomorrow. Judge says if trouble to let her know
Court is adjourned. I will be outside the courthouse very soon with a live video report on Day 3 of proceedings.
Going live with a report on Day 3 of Assange extradition hearing…
Prosecution maintained US-UK extradition treaty doesn't apply to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The magistrate court should flout a norm enshrined in international law and approve extradition.…
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