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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal against U.S. extradition, U.K. court rules

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U.K. court delays Assange extradition


U.K. court delays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to U.S.

03:53

A U.K. court ruled Monday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can appeal against an order to be extradited to the United States after his lawyers argued that the U.S. provided “blatantly inadequate” assurances that he would have free press protections there. The ruling came after the U.K. court in March requested U.S. government lawyers give “satisfactory assurances” about free speech protections if Assange were extradited, and that he would not face the death penalty if convicted on espionage charges in the U.S.

Assange has been imprisoned for around five years in the U.K., and spent many years before that avoiding U.K. authorities by holing himself up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

If extradited to the U.S., he faces a potential 175 years in prison for publishing classified information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the WikiLeaks website.

What are the U.S. charges against Assange?

WikiLeaks published thousands of leaked documents, many relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Assange is alleged to have conspired to obtain and disclose sensitive U.S. national defense information.

In 2019, a federal grand jury in Virginia indicted Assange on 18 charges over the publication of classified documents. The charges include 17 counts of espionage and one charge of computer intrusion. Assange could face up to 10 years in prison for every count of espionage he’s convicted of, and five years for the computer intrusion charge, according to the Department of Justice.


Breaking down the Julian Assange extradition saga

02:24

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice said Assange was complicit in the actions of Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst, in “unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense.”

Assange denies any wrongdoing, and his lawyer says his life is at risk if he is extradited to the U.S.

In April, President Biden said he was “considering” an Australian request to allow Assange to return to his native country. In February, Australia’s parliament passed a motion calling for the charges to be dropped against Assange and for him to be allowed to return home to his family in Australia.

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