A British Court has allowed Assange's Extradition to the United StatesDiplomacy | December 10, 2021, Friday // 15:30| views
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has allowed the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States. The defense of the WikiLeaks founder has the right to appeal the decision.
Washington wants to bring the 50-year-old Australian citizen to court for publishing secret military documents related to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, a lower-ranking judge blocked his extradition in January, saying he was at risk of suicide in the US judiciary. U.S. government lawyers said in October that the judge had not given enough importance to other expert testimony about Assange's mental state. They also tried to reassure the court that he would not be held in solitary confinement in a top-class federal prison and would receive appropriate treatment.
The case has become a cause for freedom of speech, with Assange's supporters claiming that WikiLeaks has the same rights as other media outlets to publish classified material in the public interest.
In previous hearings, the courthouse was crowded with supporters of Assange, who waved placards demanding his immediate release.
The US government has filed 18 charges against Assange over the 2010 release of 500,000 secret files on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq by WikiLeaks. If extradited, tried and convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison, although it is difficult to determine the exact sentence and it can be shorter.
Assange himself has been in custody since 2019, despite serving a previous sentence for violating bail conditions in another case. The journalist spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid moving to Sweden and to avoid charges of sexual assault, which were later dropped. While at the South American embassy, he became the father of two children with his partner, Stella Morris, a member of his legal team. Last month, British prison authorities allowed the couple to marry in the heavily guarded Belmarsh prison in south-east London.
Today's decision will probably not be the end of the saga. The case can now be remanded to a lower court for reconsideration. Assange’s defense may seek permission for a new, final appeal to the British Supreme Court.
Assange's fiancée called the London court's ruling "a big miscarriage of justice".
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