- Clear way for extradition of Assange imprisoned in Britain to America
- Assange accused of publishing thousands of US military and diplomatic documents
- Assange could face up to 175 years in prison if found guilty
Britain’s London High Court has overturned the lower court’s decision, opening the way for Julian Assange to be extradited to the US. The trial court had rejected the US request for extradition, citing the mental health of the WikiLeaks founder. Assange, a 50-year-old Australian citizen, is wanted in the US for the publication of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents in 2010 and 2011.
Earlier this year a lower court judge rejected a US request to extradite Assange, who is facing espionage charges in connection with the publication of secret military documents by WikiLeaks a decade ago. The trial court had said that if Assange was extradited, he was in danger of committing suicide because of his weak mental state.
Assange will be sent to America
The high court’s decision on Friday means US officials have won the appeals battle. These officials reassured the court that they would take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of suicide related to Assange. In January, District Judge Vanessa Baratser said that Assange was not in good mental health and therefore it would not be appropriate to extradite him because doing so could potentially commit suicide.
Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years
Assange has been charged with 17 counts of espionage in the US and one charge of computer abuse. If convicted of these charges, the maximum sentence could be up to 175 years in prison. Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Justice Lord Holloday overturned the lower court’s decision.
Fiancé announces to appeal against decision
Assange’s fiancee Stella Morris said she intended to file an appeal against the high court’s decision. Morris said the high court’s decision was dangerous and the US assurances could not be relied upon. Outside the court, an emotional Morris said that for the past two and a half years, Julian (Assange) has been in Belmarsh prison, and in fact he has been in custody for 11 years in one form or another since December 7, 2010. How long will it run?
WikiLeaks said – Assange’s life is in danger
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristin Hrufanson said in a statement: “Julian’s life is once again in grave danger, and it is the right of journalists to publish material that governments find uncomfortable. Brought out of the Ecuadorian embassy by police.” Assange has been in Belmarsh prison since 2019. Subsequently, he was arrested for violating bail conditions.
He had been living at the embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sex offense charges. He always denied the allegations of sexual offenses and these were eventually withdrawn.