Wednesday’s appeal proceeding is the latest development in the continuing effort by the US to extradite Assange to stand trial on American soil for alleged computer-related crimes.
A British judge refused the request in January on humanitarian grounds, ruling that there was a high risk of Assange taking his own life if she agreed to his extradition. Testimonies by psychiatrist Michael Kopelman about the poor state of the Australian’s mental health were crucial in the case.
The US was allowed to challenge the ruling of the District Court on three points and wants to pursue two further arguments. One of their extra lines of attack, which was granted by Lord Justice Tim Holroyde, was to seek the dismissal of Kopelman’s testimonies, due to the fact that he initially concealed Assange’s relationship with Stella Moris and the fact that they had two children together.
Clair Dobbin, who represents the US side, argued that the professor had misled the court and that his opinion about Assange’s state of mind should have been dismissed by Judge Vanessa Baraitser.
The name of Assange’s partner was not public at the time of Kopelman’s initial testimony, but it became known before the ruling was passed. The expert witness for the defense did report Assange’s fatherhood, and said when pressured by the US side during the extradition hearings that he didn’t disclose Moris’ identity out of respect for her privacy. Judge Baraitser decided when rejecting the extradition request that although Kopelman did mislead the court, he didn’t fail in his role as an impartial witness.
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