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UK court delays decision on Assange’s last-ditch extradition appeal bid


NEW DELHI: The British High Court handed down a partial victory to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday, saying he can’t be immediately extradited to the United States on espionage charges and will be able to appeal against it.
Two judges from the High Court have said that they will allow Julian Assange to pursue a new appeal unless US authorities provide additional assurances about what will happen to him.This development prolongs the legal battle that has spanned over a decade and will continue.
Assange’s case has been adjourned till May 20.
Judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson have said that if the US fails to provide the required assurances, Assange will be granted permission to appeal his extradition on grounds such as potential breaches of freedom of expression because he might be in risk of receiving death penalty.
During a recent two-day hearing in the High Court, Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, argued that the American authorities were aiming to punish Assange for WikiLeaks’ “exposure of criminality on the part of the US government on an unprecedented scale,” including torture and killings.
US prosecutors are seeking to try Assange on criminal charges related to WikiLeaks’ release of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, claiming that the leaks endangered the lives of their agents and there was no excuse for his criminality.
Supporters of Assange view him as a journalistic hero being unfairly targeted for uncovering US misconduct. After the UK approved his extradition in 2022, Assange has been striving to reverse the decision.
(With inputs from agencies)

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