Julian Assange’s extradition to US delayed as he waits to find out whether he can appeal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have to wait to find out whether he can appeal over his extradition to the United States, as the High Court ruled he cannot immediately be extradited on espionage charges.

A further hearing will now be held in May, two High Court judges said, unless the US can give further assurances about what will happen to him.

American prosecutors allege the 52-year-old encouraged and helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal diplomatic cables and military files his site published.

But Assange’s supporters say he is a hero who is being persecuted for exposing US wrongdoing.

In a January 2021 ruling, then district judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange should not be sent to the US, citing a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide, while ruling against him on all other issues.

But later that year US authorities won a High Court bid to overturn the block, paving the way for his extradition.

During a two-day hearing in February, Assange’s lawyers asked to be able to challenge the original judge’s dismissal of other parts of his case to prevent his extradition.

They argued American authorities were seeking to punish him for WikiLeaks’s “exposure of criminality on the part of the US government on an unprecedented scale”, including torture and killings.

In Tuesday’s judgment, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of Assange’s legal arguments, but said unless assurances were given by the US he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds, including breach of freedom of expression and because he might receive the death penalty.

The judges said US authorities had three weeks to give those assurances, with a final decision to be made in late May.

US authorities have promised Assange would not receive capital punishment, but the judges said it is “conceivable that the assurance might be interpreted narrowly by the respondent, so as not to preclude the imposition of the death penalty”.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on whatsapp

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Other News

Related News