Listen to the reporter in that video, "But it won't be the end of the matter. With the appeals process, it could take many more years"
This is a man who was stuck inside a small room in an embassy for nearly 7 years, then held in prison for nearly 11 months (having been arrested in April last year).
The extradition hearing to determine whether Assange will be extradited to the United States has already started. But even if the judge decides not to extradite, there will likely be appeal process, and that process could drag on for several years. Most likely Assange will continue to be held in prison during this time.
This hearing now underway was supposed to be the "final showdown", where we would actually get to hear some official allegations against Assange for the first time in court, and this is the first time Assange and his lawyers have had the opportunity to really defend against them.
But now to find out this could drag on for several more years.
If any of you are wondering how long exactly an appeals process for something like this could take, it's probably going to be somewhere between one and a half to two and half years.
Of course some people will say Assange could have just faced justice directly in the US in the first place, but then he would have had to face the potential of injustice there and put himself under US jurisdiction. And he likely would have spent a year and a half to maybe two and a half years in prison before his trial there too, due to the legal complexities of the case, the time his legal defense would need to prepare, and all the animosity/bias there that exists against him.
Let's go back a little further and cover some of the history. Initially, Assange was sought based on something he is alleged to have done while he was in Sweden.
(That's not really the main story, it's a detour in the story, that had ramifications lasting up to this day)
Assange turned himself in to the police in London (the UK) and was released on bond, pending a hearing for extradition to Sweden. Assange was not really the slightest bit concerned about facing punishment in Sweden, what he was concerned about is that once he was in Sweden, the authorities there might extradite him to the US.
At that time there were no charges against him from the US, but Assange suspected (and correctly, it would later turn out) that the US was going to issue charges and seek his extradition.
Now here's where it starts to get overly complicated, but I feel it has to be addressed here, what happened in Sweden. He was accused of 'sexual misconduct'. Now, that sounds bad, but what you have to realize is this is not really rape nor anything necessarily really despicable. The legal and social situation in Sweden's society has some big differences from other normal countries like the UK or US. I realize this is a little bit debatable, but I have researched into the details of the story, and what Assange is alleged to have done in Sweden probably would not be prosecuted as a crime if it had happened in another country.
For those of you who may think "If Assange didn't want to find himself in the mess he's now in, he shouldn't have broke the law in Sweden", it's not that simple.
From the details I've read into, it looks like it may have been a case of radical feminism making a big legal deal over something that actually wouldn't be all that uncommon in many people's sex lives. I mean it's almost laughable.
But the media in other countries completely misrepresented (whether intentionally or not) what the actual nature of this 'sexual misconduct' was, making Assange to look like a rapist or some sort of demented fiend.
Because of the great complexities of this tangent to the story, I think we'd need to start a separate thread about it, and take our discussion of Assange's accusations in Sweden there. (Please don't do it here)
The real irony, something I keep pointing out, is every thing Assange has been accused of, in Sweden, in the US, and the UK, would not have been a crime if it had occurred in the other two countries. I mean, neither the US or UK would ever have sought to punish him for the type of 'sexual misconduct' he is alleged to have committed in Sweden; neither the UK or Sweden would ever seek to charge an individual for the type of 'espionage' Assange is being accused of in the US; and neither the Sweden or the US would ever make it a separate criminal charge for breeching bail conditions. Yet all three things are very much interrelated in this story. It's like Assange is facing the worst of the legal situations in three separate different worlds. Like "the perfect storm", from a legal perspective and national jurisdiction.
Do you know what, to me at least, the most frustrating part of this is? That this story is so complicated, it is very difficult for people to understand all its facets in such a casual discussion, like we are prone to having in these online political forums. A lot of people simply cannot comprehend how all the different facets connect together, it takes too much intellectual brain power to really make sense of it. Yet there is profound injustice going on.
Just to repeat again: This is an Australian citizen who is accused by the US of a crime he did not commit in the US, and it is a crime purely of information.
The US legal system is asserting it has the legal right to arrest foreign citizens in foreign countries for sending information.
And Assange was (and is) so concerned he could face a nearly lifetime prison sentence in the US, he put himself through everything he had been through.
Based on the details that emerged from Sweden, I can tell you that even if Assange was convicted of the 'sexual misconduct' he is alleged to have committed there, he would likely only be sent to prison for between 6 to 14 months.
If it was really the accusations in Sweden that Assange was trying to escape, he had absolutely no reason to hold himself up in an embassy room for nearly 7 years, really a far worse punishment.
A court in the UK sentenced Assange to nearly a year in prison for "breeching bail". Assange only did this because he was trying to escape the possibility of a lifetime of punishment in the US. (If the UK sent him to Sweden, then Sweden could send him to the US.)
But that's really besides the point, in a sense, because even if the court had not given Assange an explicit sentence for breeching bail, they still would likely have held him in prison while awaiting an extradition hearing to the US. Because once you breech bail, judges assume you can no longer be trusted to be out on bail again.
And let me point out that Assange could have never been convicted of breeching bail if he had not turned himself into police in the first place, if he had just immediately fled and sought refuge into that embassy in the first place when he knew that authorities wanted him.
So in a sense, one could say his "crime" here was trusting the courts, and then later changing his mind and not trusting them.
So this is another absurdity of "justice" that has been carried out.
And let me just point out the possibility that, even if Assange had tried following all the rules and trusting the system, it is still very much within the realm of possibility they could have found a reason to deny him bail, once the charges from the US hit.
It's a case where Assange is now damned since he did, and he could have also been damned if he didn't.
This whole story has so many facets, I can't really weave everything together in a simple thread like this. One would really need to write a book to truly cover all the different ways this is wrong. And there are so many different ways this is wrong.
And the story is complicated, and has many different smaller stories within the larger story, and many different arguments.
This is a man who didn't really do anything wrong; or didn't really do anything that wrong. Of course the details start getting complicated when you get into them and can be a bit controversial. There's no easy simple way to summarize this story that's purely objective and not opinion.
And that's part of what makes this whole thing so frustrating.
In my strong opinion, this is a terrible terrible injustice. I would go far as to use the word evil, really. And it all is perfectly legal. That's the disturbing part.
I find it amazing, and disturbing, how many people don't seem to care.