NewsAssange wins right to appeal extradition ruling; case continues

Assange wins right to appeal extradition ruling; case continues

The founder of WikiLeaks can continue to appeal extradition to the USA.
The founder of WikiLeaks can continue to appeal extradition to the USA.
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu

11:21 AM EDT, May 20, 2024

The High Court in London ruled on Monday that Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, can continue to appeal British authorities' decision to extradite him to the USA.

This ruling does not yet conclude the years-long case or decide that Assange will not be handed over to US authorities. This only means that the founder of WikiLeaks can continue to appeal the decision made in 2022 regarding his extradition.

The WikiLeaks case resurfaces

The United States is demanding Assange's extradition in connection with the 2010 publication on WikiLeaks of a massive number of confidential military documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which, according to US authorities, endangered many lives. Supporters of Assange argue that the extradition request is politically motivated because the revealed materials included a video showing US helicopters firing at civilians in Baghdad.

High Court judges ruled on Monday that the additional assurances provided by US authorities regarding Assange's fate in the event of his extradition are insufficient.

At the end of March, High Court judges, in response to attempts by Assange's lawyers to appeal the previous decision allowing his extradition, called on US authorities to provide guarantees that Assange would be able to rely on the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects freedom of speech; that he would not be subject to bias in the trial due to his nationality (he is Australian); and that he would not face the death penalty if convicted.

Assange was arrested in 2019 after leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been hiding for seven years. Two years later, a British court ruled that although the United States had shown they had a justified reason to pursue a criminal case against Assange, he could not be extradited because he might try to harm himself.

Later, the United States managed to get this ruling overturned by providing new assurances to the UK regarding Assange's treatment, including the possibility of serving any potential sentence in his native Australia. US government lawyers have repeatedly denied the legal team's claims that Assange could face 175 years in prison.

In February 2024, during a two-day hearing in the High Court in London, Assange's lawyers argued that he should have the right to appeal the previous ruling that allowed his extradition fully. In response, judges in March demanded additional assurances from US authorities regarding the three issues mentioned.

Assange has been held in the high-security Belmarsh prison in London since 2019.

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