Analysis Breaking

Judge who denied Assange appeal’s links to security services

Jonathan Swift acted for MoD and Home Office at least nine times and had security services as ‘favourite clients’, according to Declassified UK

High Court judge Jonathan Swift, who dismissed Julian Assange’s extradition appeal last week, has close professional links to the same government ministries seeking Assange’s extradition to the United States, according to a new report from Declassified UK (DU).

Swift, a former First Treasury Counsel, was apparently a favourite of both the Blair and Cameron governments.

According to DU, as a ‘vetted’ barrister Swift acted for the Home Secretary and Defence Secretary at least nine times, as well as for a string of other government ministries, including on at least two occasions the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, reportedly earning around £300,000 a year.

In a 2018 interview, Swift told Counsel Magazine that:

Favourite clients were the security and intelligence agencies.

Last year, Swift was the judge who ruled that the Home Office’s deportation flights to Rwanda could proceed. In 2014, he acted for the Ministry of Defence against three Afghan former interpreters who brought their discrimination cases against the government to the High Court arguing for the right to live in the UK because their lives were in danger.

The US extradition case against Assange collapsed in 2021, after the US government’s main witness in its claim that Assange had incited hacking of US government servers admitted under oath that he had been lying all along. Despite the farce, the court ruled in favour of the US’s extradition bid.

Following Swift’s decision last week, Assange has one more option for appeal in the UK. If that is rejected, his last recourse is an application to the European Court of Human Rights. If sent to the US, he faces maximum security prison for life under the US Espionage Act, a severe threat to his life and health and to both journalist and democracy that political party leaders in the UK have shamefully declined to mention, let alone challenge or intervene in.

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