Assange Extradition Move Highlights UK Govt. Hypocrisy on Human Rights, Ex-Ambassador Says

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantWikileaks founder Julian Assange supporters hold placards as they gather outside Westminster Magistrates court In London, Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange supporters hold placards as they gather outside Westminster Magistrates court In London, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.04.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The decision by a London court to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States exposes the double standards and hypocrisy of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government in attacking Russia over the Ukraine conflict, former United Kingdom ambassador Peter Ford told Sputnik on Thursday.
"The latest twist in the tale  highlights the hypocrisy of a British government which sanctimoniously denounces Russia for suppression of free speech and war crimes while itself persecuting  a journalist for revealing war crimes committed by a UK ally," Ford said.
On Wednesday, the Westminster Magistrate's Court ordered for Assange's extradition to the United States where he is facing a possible sentence of up to 175 years in prison. Assange is in poor health and suffered a stroke while being in UK custody.

"It would be ironic to say the least for the UK to extradite Assange for publishing leaks about US war crimes at just the moment when the UK propaganda machine is attempting to exploit to the maximum alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine," Ford said.

Drawing attention to the double standards in the latest development in Assange's long struggle to avoid being deported back to the United States for exposing so many state secrets might cause UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, a pro-American hardliner, to hesitate in implementing the move, Ford said.
"While it is unlikely that considerations of consistency and decency would deter an un-shameable British government from proceeding to extradite the journalist, the thought that it might prompt accusations of double standards and thereby undermine the pro-Ukraine propaganda, will likely incline the government to stall for the moment on any decision," he said.
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, hold placards outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on December 10, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
Scholars: Promoting Human Rights While Extraditing Assange Brings West's Legal System Into Question
In any case Assange's legal team still have options to appeal other elements of the earlier court rulings which effectively obliged the Westminster Magistrates Court to authorize the Home Secretary to extradite, Ford continued.
"And if and when the case does go to the Home Secretary for final decision Assange's lawyers can also introduce fresh evidence, which they cannot in court," Ford added.
Assange's defense team does not rule out the possibility of applying to the European Court of Human Rights to seek to block his extradition, Carlos Poveda, Assange 's lawyer, told Sputnik on Thursday.
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