Rachel Martin, Founder, Julian discussed on Morning Edition

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From Americans for the arts it's morning edition from NPR news I'm Rachel Martin and I'm no well king extradition proceedings for wikileaks founder Julian assigned start today in London the U. S. government wants to put him on trial for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer and release hundreds of thousands of secret files and peers Franklin fit is in what is in London watching all of this and Frank where is Julian Assange right now well he's been in Belmarsh prison since may of last year and today he's in a courtroom in southeast London arguing basically pleading for the U. K. authorities not to send them to the states this case has been going on ten years now how did it start remind us we already started back in two thousand and ten wikileaks released hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and military files in these were focused on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan amid and then some of them were deeply damaging to the Pentagon there was a video of U. S. Apache helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqis including to reporters at the U. S. government said this put Americans at risk putting this material out there was a it was an enormous per each other so groups like Reporters Without Borders they say this is a first amendment case in the U. S. is trying to punish Assad for exposing wrongdoing and right now there are protesters out in front of the courthouse in London calling for Sajjad obsess on should be set free why did it take so long for this hearing to happen well he skipped bail soon skip bail me remember this but on an unrelated rape charges in Sweden this was going back six maybe seven years ago those charges have since been dropped but when he skipped bail here he holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for a very long time the Ecuadorians granted him political asylum but he was not a great house guest and he's a very long time and they revoked his diplomatic immunity last year and a British police hold him out and off he went to prison okay there you go it Frank there's also been an interesting twist in all of this that involves president trump and the twenty sixteen election what what happened there well this is another leak from wikileaks that made a had a big impact if you remember back during the demo democratic campaign Hillary Clinton was running in two thousand and sixteen wikileaks released emails from her campaign and the Democratic National Committee the U. S. indicted twelve Russian agents for that hack up a one of a son his attorneys says that assignment within Rohrabacher he was then a U. S. Republican congressman and Rohrabacher allegedly offered to arrange a pardon for sergeant two thousand seventeen and if he disavowed Russia's role in in all of this which in fact of a son has done in the past the idea was to try to refute evidence that Russia tried to help trump win the White House which of course has been embarrassing to the president something that he wants to race and disdain Aurora Barker admit to that does he say he offered us on to pardon well up to up to a point no well he does say that he did help to offer get a pardon for Saanjh but he never talk to the president about it of course the White House says that as well they say they had nothing to do with it okay so in the end how likely is it that assigns ends up in the U. S. court it's not clear the US probably has quite a lot of evidence in the sun is facing up to a hundred seventy five years in prison but of course is on his attorneys are going to argue he can't get a fair trial the trial in the United States and peers Franklin fit in London thanks Frank you know you're very welcome no well it is illegal for anyone behind bars to process a cellphone in Mississippi it's a felony offense a Mississippi man picked up on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge didn't turn his phone over and he ended up with a twelve year sentence now there's a push to get the Mississippi Supreme Court to reconsider the case NPR's Cheryl Corley reports this case about cellphones prison and sentencing has some complicated twists and turns but there's little disagreement about a few facts number one it was August of twenty seventeen when police picked up now thirty nine year old Willie Nash for what they called a misdemeanor domestic violence charge number two the married father of three had a cell phone on him when police took him to the Newton county jail in east Mississippi and since they didn't search him they didn't find his cellphone will Bardwell is a senior attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center or SPLC and they might never have discovered that he had a cell phone if he had not offered up the cell phone and ask them to recharge the battery for it those are all sanctions none of those are back Stephen Kilgore is the district attorney for Mississippi's eighth judicial circuit his office prosecuted Willie Nash for his first time in jail for him did not be aware that you could have a cell phone would be shocking there's been lots of speculation about how Nash ended up with a cell phone and whether he knew the policy bottom line it's a felony in Mississippi for any incarcerated person to possess one the penalty is three to fifteen years the judge in the case held two prior convictions for burglary from nearly two decades ago against Nash he sentenced him to twelve years and told him he was fortunate he didn't get more time attorney Robert McDuff with the Mississippi center for justice calls that absurd he has obviously led a life since then that has not involved in any criminal convictions Johnson him based in part on convictions that are that old simply makes no sense cell phones have long been considered a problem in prisons and jails thousands make their way behind bars despite efforts to stymie their flow the FBI says prisoners use them to commit more crimes from the inside or to harass victims families over the last few months the Mississippi prisons there's been lots of violent unrest and more than a dozen deaths governor Tate Reeves partially blames contraband cell phones these phones have been illegal for years but they've been snuck in and they're being used coordinate gang activity throughout the Mississippi system and even throughout the country that was a large part of what calls the recent series of killings to escalate as much as it did no no the day after the governor's press conference protesters rallied at the Mississippi state capitol Benny Ivey the head of an activist group strong arms of Jackson said that if it weren't for cellphones in humane conditions in the state's prisons would remain hidden thank god they had cell phones in a because it is just the models and stuff right there's just a lot of stuff away I haven't nearly every state has a long place to punish prisoners found with cell phones and SPLC analysis shows in at least thirty six states the penalty is no more than a five year sentence and in several states is no prison time at all will Bardwell says that's evidence they want the Mississippi Supreme Court to take into account if we only had poisoned someone in an attempt to kill them if he had sold a child if he had assaulted a police officer he would have received less time for all of those crimes then the sentence he is serving today citing the U. S. constitution Bardwell calls it cruel and unusual punishment and one justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court said the state could have taken a less punitive approach district attorney Kilgore says Nash and his lawyer did turn down a three year plea deal and it's possible that he could come up for parole next year instead of waiting for that to occur the Southern Poverty Law Center once the.

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