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Julian Assange Extradition Ruling Faces New Delays

Julian Assange Extradition Ruling Delay

Judges have ruled that it is crucial for the US to ensure that Julian Assange is granted freedom of speech protections and that he will not face the death penalty upon extradition.

The UK High Court has granted the Wikileaks founder the opportunity to pursue a fresh appeal regarding his extradition to the US, without the need for certain assurances.

According to US authorities, Mr. Assange’s publication of thousands of classified documents posed a risk to lives.

According to his lawyers, the case is being viewed as a form of “state retaliation”.

The court has extended the deadline for the final decision on Mr Assange’s extradition by three weeks, allowing the US government additional time to comply with the court’s order.

Following the release of the ruling, Mr. Assange’s wife appealed to US President Joe Biden, urging him to dismiss this disgraceful case.

The court order issued on Tuesday marks a new development in the ongoing legal saga that originated from the publication of confidential US documents by Mr. Assange’s website, Wikileaks, in 2010 and 2011.

According to his supporters, the leak revealed criminal activities by the US, but Mr. Assange faced widespread criticism for not redacting the names of intelligence operatives, which could have endangered their lives.

The 52-year-old Australian national tried to evade extradition to the US by seeking shelter in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, but was apprehended in 2019 and has been detained in UK prisons ever since.

In June 2022, the Home Secretary at the time, Priti Patel, made a ruling that Mr. Assange could be extradited to the US to face trial for 18 offences. This decision has been challenged by his lawyers in the courts.

His attorneys argued to the High Court in February that Ms. Patel’s extradition order was invalid for nine reasons.

Although Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr. Justice Johnson stated in a written ruling on Tuesday that Mr. Assange had a “arguable case” on their remaining grounds for appeal, six were rejected outright.

The first two essentially concern whether or whether Mr. Assange, as a foreign national, would be entitled to protections for freedom of expression under the US constitution.

The courts also acknowledged that there are insufficient assurances that Mr. Assange will not be executed in the US, which his attorneys contend ought to have prevented the UK government from consenting to transport him there.

Although Mr. Assange is not now facing any charges in the US that carry the death penalty, his attorneys worry that he may in the future be charged with crimes like treason or espionage that do.

As part of their case, they cited remarks made by former US President Donald Trump, the Republican nominee in the election later this year, who was in favor of Mr. Assange being executed.

The United States of America has consistently stated that Mr. Assange is not facing capital punishment and has already assured the courts that, should he be found guilty, he would be able to serve his prison sentence in Australia.

A final hearing may be held on May 20 if the US does provide additional assurances during the next three weeks.

Dame Victoria stated in the court’s decision, “If assurances are not given then we will grant leave to appeal without a further hearing.”

“If assurances are given then we will give the parties an opportunity to make further submissions before we make a final decision on the application for leave to appeal.”

Should Mr. Assange’s most recent appeal be denied, he will have used up all available legal options in the United Kingdom. Taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights would be his only remaining choice.

Stella Assange, his wife, referred to her husband as a “political prisoner” while speaking to the assembly outside the court.

Julian Assange should not have spent a single day in prison,” she continued, adding that the case ought to have been dismissed outright.

“The United States is bringing a case based on the persecution of a journalist for his political opinions.”

Attorneys for Mr. Assange claim that he may spend up to 175 years in prison if found guilty; however, the US government has previously stated that a term of four to six years is more plausible.

They filed a complaint in 2022 with the European Court of Human Rights, but it was denied without a trial.

Although the Australian parliament has passed a motion urging the US and UK to free Mr. Assange, neither government will be legally impacted by this.


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