By Caitlin Johnstone
Following seven years of imprisonment at the Ecuadorian embassy fighting US extradition, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks behind bars for an entirely bogus bail charge.
Sky News reporter Jordan Milne live-tweeted events as they unfolded, reporting that Assange’s defense argued that his fears of rendition and torture at the hands of the US government were well-founded. His life in the Ecuadorian embassy and the physical and psychological detriments which came with it were described, including deteriorated health and depression. The judge rejected his entire defense and delivered nearly the harshest sentence possible.
“Your continued residence in the Embassy has necessitated a concentration of resources, and expenditure of £16 million of taxpayers’ money in ensuring that when you did leave, you were brought to justice,” Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange upon his sentencing.
This is bullshit. Assange’s residency at the embassy never cost taxpayers a penny; it was the British government’s decision to pour money into patrolling the embassy around the clock with police who had orders to arrest Assange on sight over a petty bail charge. It was the British government’s decision to persuade the Swedish government not to drop its investigation in 2013 so that it could pursue the agenda to arrest Assange for US extradition. Assange’s residency didn’t cost British taxpayers anything; the agenda to imprison and extradite a journalist for…