US authorities win their latest bid to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

The 50-year-old Australian has been charged within the US beneath the Espionage Act for his position in publishing labeled navy and diplomatic cables.

Friday’s ruling by two senior judges overturns the ruling of a British decide in January that granting the US request to extradite Assange could be “oppressive” by motive of his psychological well being.

Assange’s legal professionals mentioned in an announcement on Friday that they’d attraction the choice based mostly on the assurances on the UK’s Supreme Court, inside the requisite 14 days. They added that appeals on different points, resembling questions of free speech and the political motivation of the US extradition request, have but to be heard by any attraction court docket.

In January, decide Vanessa Baraitser dominated that the “special administrative measures” during which Assange would most definitely be held would have a extreme detrimental influence on his psychological well being. She mentioned Assange had “remained either severely or moderately clinically depressed,” all through his keep at London’s Belmarsh jail and that he was thought-about a suicide danger.

According to court docket paperwork, the US received its attraction to extradite Assange on account of “four assurances” despatched in a Diplomatic Note dated February 5, 2021.

These assurances have been that Assange wouldn’t be made the topic of “special administrative measures”; nor would he be held at a most safety jail earlier than or after trial. In addition, the US would “consent” to an software by Assange to be transferred to Australia to serve his sentence, if convicted; and whereas in custody within the US, Assange would obtain “appropriate clinical and psychological treatment.”

The senior judges listening to the attraction have been happy that these assurances met the issues which led the decide to succeed in her determination in January, court docket paperwork mentioned Friday.

The judges ordered that the case ought to now be returned to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, with a route {that a} district decide ship the case to the UK Home Secretary, who will resolve whether or not Assange needs to be extradited to the US.

Assange will stay in custody, the judges mentioned. He is being held at Belmarsh Prison in London.
Stella Moris, partner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on December 10, 2021.

Moris, who has two kids with Assange, known as the most recent ruling “a grave miscarriage of justice” and “dangerous and misguided.”

“How can this court approve an extradition request, under these conditions?” she mentioned, talking outdoors the UK’s High Court of Justice on Friday.

“This goes to the fundamentals of press freedom and of democracy. We will fight. Every generation has an epic fight to fight and this is ours, because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society, of what it means to have press freedom. Of what it means for journalists to do their jobs without being afraid of spending the rest of their lives in prison.”

Moris accused the UK of imprisoning Assange “on behalf of a foreign power which is taking an abusive, vindictive prosecution against a journalist” and urged “everyone to come together and fight for Julian.”

Assange is needed within the US on 18 prison prices after WikiLeaks revealed hundreds of labeled information and diplomatic cables in 2010. If convicted, he faces as much as 175 years in jail.

Assange spent almost seven years holed up within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London protected by asylum standing, avoiding extradition to Sweden.

He was eventually arrested in 2019 by London’s Metropolitan Police in reference to bail-skipping prices and a separate extradition warrant from the US Justice Department.
Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation of sexual molestation and coercion towards him in 2015 and their investigation into rape allegations in 2019. Assange at all times denied wrongdoing in that case.
In July, a court docket in Ecuador decided that Assange’s standing as a naturalized citizen of Ecuador, which was granted to him in December 2017 by then-President Lenín Moreno, needs to be revoked.

CNN’s Lauren Moorhouse contributed to this report.

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