Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> or have his ashes thrown into the sea the same way as they did with Osama bin Laden.

The UK won't extradite if the death penality is on the cards. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/41/section/94

This is ridiculous. No one is talking about death penalty except people trying to inflame the situation.

Eh, how can you know that?

The US government has two contradictory personalities. A justice personality that is procedural and fair, and a military/spy personality that executes via drone and sets up Guantanamo.

Since the latter seems to think it owes no explanation to anyone of whatever it does (and moreover tries to use courts to hide its mistakes after the fact), who are you to say that it's above executing?

The fact that Assange is being extradited not snatched via rendition means he is going to face the US justice system. He is being charged in Eastern District Virginia with conspiracy to commit computer hacking.

If Assange just disappeared one day, then maybe worries that he is going to receive extrajudicial punishment or indefinite detention would be warranted.

The latter group would have no qualms about assassinating anywhere, but they want it known that the U.S. punished Assange, not simply throw him under a bus.

Tell that to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. We've executed for sharing secret documents before, and may again.

The Rosenbergs weren't extradited from a country which would require a formal guarantee that the death penalty would not be used, so are not a relevant precedent.

I bet the formal guarantee will be negotiable, especially when on the other end is the US. That's why UK has a special relationship after all. Assange would have been safer in Russia than UK for sure.

It's not an unprecedented thing. Mexico forced the US to agree not to seek the death penalty for Joaquín Guzmán ("El Chapo") before extraditing him, and the US has kept to that agreement.

If the US executed someone extradited from the UK, that would be the last person extradited from the UK to the US.

No, it isn't negotiable, by both the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Rosenbergs were executed for treason, not just sharing some secret documents. They actively spied for an adversary of the United States, recruited other spies, and stole some of the United States' most powerful secrets.

The gravity of what Assange and Manning did doesn't compare to what the Rosenbergs did, which is why Manning didn't get a life sentence or death penalty, and why Assange won't either. Only way Assange ends up on the precipice of capital punishment is if he did far, far worse things than what has been revealed so far.

Rosenburgs were not convicted for treason, but espionage.

The judge convicting them worked along with the prosecutor on the bar to make sure that they got a clean cut, and more easily prosecutable charge of _espionage_ instead of original treason. But yes, his ultimate reason was his personal insecurity about seeing his fellow Jewish American giving the public even more reason to doubt the loyalty of Jewish Americans (given how all things were at the time...)

Excerpt from wiki.

> Kaufman is best remembered as the judge who presided over the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and imposed their controversial death sentences. Roy Cohn, one of the prosecutors in the case, claimed in his autobiography that his influence led to Kaufman's being appointed to the case, and that Kaufman had imposed the death penalty on Cohn's personal advice. This claim has not been verified, although it has been shown that after Kaufman learned that the FBI and Justice Department opposed death penalties in the case, he asked the prosecution to withhold its recommendation before issuing his death sentence. In his summing up Judge Irving Kaufman was considered by many to have been highly subjective: "Judge Kaufman tied the crimes the Rosenbergs were being accused of to their ideas and the fact that they were sympathetic to the Soviet Union. He stated that they had given the atomic bomb to the Russians, which had triggered Communist aggression in Korea resulting in over 50,000 American casualties. He added that, because of their treason, the Soviet Union was threatening America with an atomic attack and this made it necessary for the United States to spend enormous amounts of money to build underground bomb shelters." [5] Kaufman said that he had gone to synagogue to pray before issuing his death sentence; this enraged Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, who later wrote to judge Learned Hand, "I despise a judge who feels God told him to impose a death sentence," and also told Hand that he was "mean enough" to stay on the court long enough to prevent Kaufman from having a chance to take Frankfurter's place in the so-called "Jewish seat" on the Court.[4][6]

You're right, the actual charges they were convicted of were espionage. Still, the point I'm making is that Assange's actions are nowhere near what the Rosenbergs did. Unless we see some superseding indictments of worse stuff.

Interesting historical perspective on how/why the death sentence was sent down, I didn't know that part about the judge.

The Rosenbergs were executed almost 70 years ago.

No one was talking about extradition until an hour ago either. Yet here we are.


I think you're arguing the same "side"? GP was just referring to centrists' embarrassing goalpost relocation.

In the US they don't need to use the death penalty, they can just put him in certain prison situations where he will be killed. The US has a massively corrupt prison system.

Trump has called for the death penalty for people working with/on Wikileaks. It's definitely a possibility.

There are many well known US members of congress and senate who promised to bring him to death. That was one of Assange lawyers arguments, until they all started dying suddenly.

The relevant US law with the death penalty is the Espionage Act from 1917, Section 704. It prohibits anyone from obtaining national defense–related information and making national defense–related information available to a foreign government.

Due to this the UK is disallow to extradite him, because that are the exact allegations prominent US politicians and lawmakers accuse him of.

They might just let him rot in Guantanamo instead of executting. I don't know which one is worse.

They almost certainly can't send him to Gitmo, if he's been extradited on formal charges. That puts him in the hands of the regular legal system. What makes Gitmo a special case is that it's an end-run around both American and international law... prisoners there aren't in the American legal system and subject to awkward rights like habeus corpus and fair trial, but likewise aren't prisoners of war and subject to the Geneva Convention (which calls for freeing enemy soldiers as quickly as possible unless they are being charged with war crimes for an international tribunal, which is highly unusual).

This is why Gitmo is a shame on our national honor, but it also means Assange won't be going there.

is this the case also for foreign nationals (e.g. Australians)? and in combination with terror laws and agreements[1] between UK/US (not just civil/criminal law)?

I think if he does a little bit of time for jumping UK bail then the second he walks out from a UK prison the CIA will be all over abducting his ass. And he'll never be heard off again. I recall Hillary Clinton wasn't ashamed of suggesting "Can't we drone the guy?"* She and her ilk was considered a lot more moderate compared to the criminals in DC right now.

[1] edit: never mind I found it: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-wont-send-ter... - seems that prosecutors would have to play their cards right and just promise to give him life in prison instead. Spending the rest of his life in solitary isn't really much of a consolation.

> is this the case also for foreign nationals (e.g. Australians)? and in combination with terror laws and agreements between UK/US (not just civil/criminal law)?

Extradition is based on criminal law, even if the offense is terrorism; and, yes, it's a matter of human rights law without exception. (That is not to say they might not do a covert rendition rather than an extradition with death on the table, but the fact that the formal process of extradition is being used means, with a high degree of certainty, that it will not go forward absent a formal guarantee that capital punishment is off the table.)

> I recall Hillary Clinton wasn't ashamed of suggesting "Can't we drone the guy?"* She and her ilk was considered a lot more moderate compared to the criminals in DC right now.

Perhaps in some general sense, but certainly not on the specific issue of WikiLeaks and Assange.

She almost certainly did say "can't we just drone this guy?" as a joke about assange. She later issued a non-denial denial about the rumor.

thanks for clarifying this

The UK recently changed their stance wrt requiring no death penalties on extradition cases. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/23/uk-will-not-...

But that wasn't a extradition from the UK case. They were captured in Syria and not the UK. What the home secretary said to the US was (paraphrased) "We will not seek that they get extradited to be trialled in the UK for their crimes". Basically, "you caught them, they are yours".

The part about extraditing someone from the UK (and the rest of the EU iirc) must come with written assurances that the person will not be given the death penality is written into UK Law. To go against that would need either a change in the law or have the Home Secretary face legal repercussions of breaking the law whist acting as Home Secretary.

They would have to be 100% sure that the other country would abide by the terms. But lets say the US promised but then broke that promise once they were on US soil, then it would have wider effects on the extradition treaty with that country let alone any other relationship with that country. Would it be worth it to the US to burn the ability to extradite other people in the future for just one case?

And that is even if they are seeking such a punishment. As it stands right now, Assange is "only" charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion which carries a max of 5 years in prison.

Assange's legal team will make sure that other charges that may be added to the case in the future can not be given the death penality if his extradition does go though (Just because he has been arrested doesn't mean Assange doesn't have any rights to fight the extradition request.) see the case of Gary McKinnon who was facing 70 years but didn't get extradited https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon (Though in that case, it basically came down to he was seeing so much time in the US prison, he has ASD and depression that it was highly likely that he would of ended his own life then spend it in a US jail that it was deemed it would be against his human rights and the extradition dropped.).

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact