Appearing for the American side, James Lewis QC said four assurances had been given, including that Assange could be moved to an Australian prison to serve any prison term he was given.
On 4 January, British District Judge Vanessa Baraister ruled that Assange should not be extradited, saying the risk he would commit suicide in a US jail were too high.
US: "Even if we lose, we can start again with Mr. Assange and issue another extradition request" -James Lewis QC today at the UK High Court on behalf of the US Government— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 28, 2021
Lewis claimed the verdict was based on the assumption that Assange would be subjected to what are known as Special Administrative Measures and held at the ADX Florence Supermax jail. The four assurances given changed the basis of the judgment, he said.
Assange's lawyers told the court that American assurances about Assange's treatment, were he to be extradited, should be disregarded as they would not prevent him committing suicide.
They said even though the US side said Assange would not be subjected to SAMs, he could be held in extreme isolation which could cause him to take his own life.
One of his lawyers, Mark Summers, said the CIA could use its powers to ensure that Assange was subject to SAMs after he was in American hands, and the wording of the assurances given by the US lawyers did not rule out this happening.
The report, which was published by Yahoo! News in September, said the American spy agency was angry about the leak of some of its hacking tools that year, which the whistleblower organisation called Vault 7.
The Yahoo! News story said the drive to act against Assange came after the appointment of Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
Assange faces criminal charges for publishing classified information that was leaked to WikiLeaks by an American soldier, then known as Bradley Manning, but now, after gender reassignment surgery, known as Chelsea Manning.
“US assurances have come “too late to be properly tested”, they don’t undermine the findings on mental health and risk of suicide, they are conditional and can’t be trusted”. @Amnesty agrees with #Assange's defence: US assurances “inherently unreliable”https://t.co/Eg7J6p3prO pic.twitter.com/P2SYKw9NTo— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 28, 2021
He was arrested by British police on 11 April 2019 and removed from the Ecuador embassy where he had taken refuge. His asylum was withdrawn shortly before he was arrested and he appeared in court shortly thereafter. The US made a formal request for his extradition on 6 June 2019.
The Australian, 50, one of the better known hackers his country has produced, is being held at Belmarsh Prison in the UK.
In 2018, the US gave up appealing a decision by a court in the UK to oppose the extradition of British security researcher Lauri Love to the US to face charges of allegedly breaching the computer networks of a number of federal government agencies.
And another British hacker, Gary McKinnon, was not extradited for accessing US Government computers in 2012, after a 10-year legal battle, because he was considered to be “seriously ill”.
Former British prime minister Theresa May, who was home secretary at the time, made the decision not to extradite McKinnon.