UK Government Approves Extradition of Julian Assange to US
TBritish authorities have ordered Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for spying allegations. He will likely appeal.
According to her department, Priti Patel (Home Secretary) signed the extradition orders on Friday. This follows an April British court decision that Assange might be sent to America.
The Home Office said in a statement that “the U.K courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the U.S. he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”
The decision is a big moment in Assange’s years-long battle to avoid facing trial in the U.S.—though not necessarily the end of the tale. Assange still has time to appeal.
The extradition was approved by a British judge in April. However, the government has the final say. Following a long legal battle, the U.K. Supreme Court approved the extradition.
Continue reading: ‘Historic for All the Wrong Reasons.’ Press Freedom Advocates Condemn Julian Assange Extradition Ruling
The U.S. has asked British authorities to extradite Assange so he can stand trial on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents more than a decade ago. American prosecutors claim that Assange illegally assisted Chelsea Manning, an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, to steal classified diplomatic cables. These documents were later released by WikiLeaks. This puts lives in danger.
Journalist organizations and human rights organisations have urged Britain not to grant the extradition request.
Assange’s 50-year-old supporters and legal counsel argue that Assange was acting in the capacity of a journalist. He is entitled to First Amendment freedoms of speech protections for documents that reveal U.S. military wrongdoings. They contend that his case has been motivated by political motives.
Continue reading: What to Know About Julian Assange’s Extradition Appeal
Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in jail if he is convicted in the U.S., though American authorities have said any sentence is likely to be much lower than that.
Assange has been held at Britain’s high-security Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle. To avoid being extradited to Sweden, Assange spent seven years in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy.
Sweden ended the investigation of sex crimes in November 2019 due to lack of time.
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