NewsJulian Assange faces trial. Last attempt to escape extradition to the US

Julian Assange faces trial. Last attempt to escape extradition to the US

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 21: Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the second day of Assange's final appeal hearing at the High Court against the US's extradition order in London, United Kingdom on February 21, 2024. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could face a sentence of 175 years in prison on charges under the US Espionage Act for soliciting, gathering and publishing secret US military documents. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 21: Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the second day of Assange's final appeal hearing at the High Court against the US's extradition order in London, United Kingdom on February 21, 2024. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could face a sentence of 175 years in prison on charges under the US Espionage Act for soliciting, gathering and publishing secret US military documents. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Anadolu
10:22 AM EST, February 21, 2024, updated: 12:39 PM EST, February 21, 2024

Julian Assange found himself targeted by the US services after the WikiLeaks portal he runs revealed details of the US war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. The portal posted evidence of troops attacking civilians. Other materials included the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Whistleblower on target

Julian Assange is an Australian journalist, computer programmer and founder of WikiLeaks, an online platform that allows anonymous whistleblowers to publish confidential documents.

The case began in 2010, when the WikiLeaks website revealed a huge number of confidential military documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including footage showing a US helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad. He hid in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years before being arrested by the Metropolitan Police in 2019.

That same year, the U.S. demanded his extradition from the UK, claiming that the information he revealed put many people's lives in danger.

Rape allegations

Assange subsequently became the subject of an investigation into allegations of rape and sexual harassment in Sweden. Fearing extradition, he went into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he stayed for seven years. In 2019, he was arrested by British police after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum. Since then, there has been a legal battle over his possible extradition to the United States, where he is accused of leaking secret documents.

The United States managed to get the ruling overturned by giving the UK new assurances about how Assange would be treated, including indicating that he could serve a possible sentence in his native Australia. Lawyers for the U.S. government have also repeatedly denied claims by Assange's legal team that he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

If lawyers fail to convince judges that the warrant has legal shortcomings, Assange must be extradited within 28 days - unless he can convince the European Court of Human Rights to temporarily halt his extradition with a warrant under the so-called Rule 39, which allows intervention in cases where the court believes there is a risk to a person. Assange's supporters, however, fear that he could be put on a plane to the US before that happens.

Source: BBC, CNN

Source:EssaNews
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