On February 20 and 21, the High Court of Justice in London will conduct a hearing to decide whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal the court's earlier decision to extradite him to the U.S. to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and one for computer crime, with a Methuselan prison sentence of 175 years. This, even though Julian is not an American citizen (he's Australian), and he was not under U.S. jurisdiction when the "crimes" were allegedly committed.At the end of the two-day hearing the court could grant Julian permission to appeal, it could deny it, or it could postpone its decision to a later date. Or the two judges might have some other ruling up their puffy sleeves.
In the first instance, if permission to appeal is granted, whilst awaiting another hearing, Julian would most likely be returned to high-security Belmarsh Prison where he has been held for nearly five years under arbitrary detention in near-total solitary confinement, though he has been convicted of no crime. Belmarsh is known as Britain's Guantanamo because of its torturous conditions as well as for its population of mostly alleged murderers and terrorists.
Julian, an award-winning journalist and publisher, a life-long promoter of peace, a nine-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, is quite obviously not in that category, though there are those who think he is. Most notable among these is former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who pronounced Julian "a darling of terrorist groups", and defined WikiLeaks as a "nonstate, hostile intelligence service".
The crime that Julian is essentially "guilty" of is revealing truths most uncomfortable to the ruling powers — practicing journalism as it should be practiced.
The second possible outcome of the upcoming hearing, denial of permission to appeal, could mean that within hours Julian would be shackled and placed on a U.S. military jet headed for Alexandria, Virginia. There his case will be heard by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where many residents work in national security (CIA, FBI, Department of Defense) or have a family member who does. The jury pool comes from this group and, not surprisingly, no one brought before this court under the Espionage Act has ever been exonerated.