On November 2 Julian Assange lost his high court appeal against extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault. Denying the accusations, Assange claims they are directly linked to the WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents that have embarrassed and enraged international businesses as well as several governments, particularly that of the United States.

With his lawyers mulling over what steps to take during the next few days, the looming possibility of extradition is worrisome to many who feel that the insistence to deport the whistleblower to Sweden can lead to an extended extradition to the US, which has been exploring a legal pursuit of Assange.

What also is a fact of matter is that although his release of classified information has caused no known harm to any individual, many well-known ones have made direct and explicit threats against him, mostly publicly calling for his assassination. Along with the theatrics is the more stifling “financial blockade” of WikiLeaks which the organisation said has forced it to “temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise” in order to ensure its future survival.

Assange’s lawyers still have 13 days left to appeal at the Supreme Court. This can only be done if the high court judges can somehow be persuaded that an issue of “public importance” remains at stake in the case.

As for his mother, Christine Assange, upholding the latest ruling is a step closer to his “US extradition or rendition”. And she may as well be right. Assange’s backers fear that the real legal ploy that can be used against him in Sweden is that of “temporary surrender”. This clause in Sweden’s extradition treaty with the US can lead to Assange being handed over to the US fairly swiftly.

And while it is seemingly difficult to judge the truth behind the cases against him in Sweden, the special interest shown by certain governments in persecuting the organisation shows a clear disdain for the ideas of transparency and for WikiLeaks’ motto of open governance, which for many of us, quite certainly, is the “most effective method of promoting good governance”.

Qurat ul ain Siddiqui is the News Editor at Dawn.com

 

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