The family of Harry Dunn – a British teenager who was killed in a car crash after the wife of an American diplomat drove on the wrong side of the road, then fled the country – is now calling for the United Kingdom to block the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
Dunn, 19, was killed on Aug. 27, 2019, when Anne Sacoolas, 42, the wife of an American intelligence official working at a U.S. military base in central England, struck his motorbike in Northamptonshire, located about 85 miles northwest of London.
US OFFICIALS TO BEGIN EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ASSANGE IN LONDON COURTHOUSE
“Despite its disgraceful refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas, the U.S. continues to seek the extradition of people in the U.K. – such as Julian Assange,” a Dunn family spokesman, Radd Seiger, told The Mail in a statement Sunday. “In doing so, they are demonstrating an extraordinary amount of hypocrisy.”
The Dunn family has asked U.K. foreign affairs secretary, Dominic Raab, to block Assange’s extradition. The request came before Monday’s court hearing in a high-security London courthouse, where a judge began hearing arguments from lawyers for U.S. authorities who want to try Assange on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
“As Dominic Raab told us when we met with him on January 27: ‘We are reviewing all options.’ We want him now to exercise the option of not extraditing Julian Assange to the U.S.,” Sieger added.
Last month, the U.S. rejected a request to extradite Sacoolas to the U.K. She was charged in December with “causing death by dangerous driving." After Dunn was killed in the crash outside the U.S. Air Force listening station at RAF Croughton in August, Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and left the country. She also reportedly worked for the CIA, BBC reported.
The Dunn family has played off of media attention in other high profile cases as part of their bid to secure Sacoolas’ extradition. Earlier this month, Seiger, alongside a lawyer for alleged victims of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, held a joint press conference calling for Sacoolas’ return to the U.K. and for Prince Andrew to agree to FBI questioning in the U.S., The Guardian reported.
Assange, 48, is being held at Belmarsh prison, in southeast London, The Guardian reported. Monday’s extradition hearing follows years of subterfuge, diplomatic dispute and legal drama that have led the Australian from fame as an international secret-spiller through self-imposed exile inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to incarceration in a maximum-security British prison.
He has been indicted in the U.S. on 18 charges over the publication of classified documents. Prosecutors say he conspired with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. authorities say WikiLeaks’ activities put American lives in danger. Assange argues he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection and says the leaked documents exposed U.S. military wrongdoing. Among the files published by WikiLeaks was video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack by American forces in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.
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Former U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif., said he floated the idea of a presidential pardon with Assange’s attorneys if the WikiLeaks founder could confirm Russia was not behind the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, Business Insider reported. Both Rohrbacher and the White House have said the former congressman was not authorized to offer the pardon on Trump’s behalf.
In the extradition hearing Monday, Assange’s attorneys accused the Trump administration of “extortion,” in reneging the promise of a pardon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.