Britain agrees to extradite Assange to the United States

06/17/2022, 11:56 AM06/17/2022, 14:04

Julian Assange can be extradited.Photo: cornerstone

A serious setback for Julian Assange: After years of backsliding, Great Britain has agreed to extradite the founder of WikiLeaks to the United States.

A similar order was signed by Conservative Home Secretary Priti Patel, her department announced Friday in London. The founder of the detection platform has been fighting against extradition to the United States for more than ten years. The 50-year-old has been imprisoned in London since 2019. WikiLeaks has announced that he will be returning to court.

The US judiciary wants to try Assange for espionage. The Australian faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted. He is accused of stealing and disseminating classified material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, endangering the lives of American informants. His lawyers say no one was ever harmed. Supporters see Assange as a brave journalist who exposed war crimes and who must now become an example.

A Home Office spokesperson justified the decision by saying: “The UK courts have not found in this case that it would be oppressive, unfair or an abuse of procedure to extradite Mr Assange.” His basic rights – including the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression – remain unaffected. Assange now has two weeks to appeal. Those around him fear that he will be placed in solitary confinement and not have a fair trial, despite Washington’s assurances to the contrary.

WikiLeaks spoke of a “black day for press freedom and British democracy”. Patel made himself a partner of the United States, which wanted to make investigative journalism a crime. The platform even accuses US intelligence agencies of being involved in a plot to assassinate Assange. The legal dispute over extradition has been going on for years. At the end of last year, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on extradition due to the risk of suicide. After the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against him, it was now the Home Secretary’s turn.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison since his arrest in April 2019. Prior to that, he had evaded law enforcement authorities for several years at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. They had initially sought him out in Sweden due to allegations of rape. However, these claims were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.

It remains unclear whether the 50-year-old will actually be extradited. According to his supporters, litigation avenues have not yet been exhausted. We will take legal action. The next appeal will be before the Supreme Court. “We will fight louder and shout louder in the streets,” the WikiLeaks statement said.

The German Journalists Association called on the United States to drop the charges. If President Joe Biden denounces Russian war crimes in Ukraine, he should not take extreme legal action against US war crimes investigators.

(aeg/sda)

Seven Years in the Embassy: The Case of Julian Assange

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Seven Years in the Embassy: The Case of Julian Assange

Source: shutterstock.com

Julian Assange arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy

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