Julian Assange

April 2019

I was encouraged to see the situation in the Ecuadorean embassy finally come to an end. Ecuador's actions recognise that the UK's criminal justice system is one in which rights are protected and in which, contrary to what Mr Assange and his supporters may claim, he and his legitimate interests will be protected.

As you will know, as a result of Mr Assange's failure to surrender in relation to his extradition proceedings, he has now been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison. Mr Assange was informed of the decision to bring his presence in the embassy to an end by the Ecuadorean ambassador. The Metropolitan police entered the embassy for the purpose of arresting and removing him. I am assured that all the police's activities were carried out pursuant to a formal written invitation signed by the Ecuadorean ambassador and in accordance with the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

The next stage in the extradition process is for the United States to provide the full extradition request. I would like to make it clear that all requests for extradition are subject to statutory safeguards and judicial oversight. Once the US request is received by the court, there will be an extradition hearing after which the District Judge will determine whether any of the statutory bars to extradition apply. Then, if the Judge finds that extradition is not barred, the case is sent to the Home Secretary to decide whether to order extradition. There are only a limited number of issues the Home Secretary may consider. Leave to appeal to the High Court can be sought against both the decision of the District Judge and the decision of the Home Secretary.

I understand that both the UK Government and the Ecuadorean Government had become increasingly concerned about the state of Mr Assange's health. The first action of the police following his arrest was to have him medically assessed and deemed fit to detain. The Ecuadoreans have their best efforts to ensure that doctors, chosen by him, have had access inside the embassy. While he remains in prison in the UK, he will now be able to access to all necessary medical care and facilities.