METRONEWS247 —WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stops as he addresses the media gathered outside the High Court in London in 2011. The U.K. claims Julian Assange can be extradited to the U.S. to face spying charges.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been extradited to the US to face spying charges, according a British government order. WikiLeaks said that it will appeal.
The extradition order was signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday, according to her office. It comes after a British judge ruled in April that Assange may be extradited to the US since WikiLeaks published a vast collection of secret papers more than ten years ago.
In a statement, the Home Office said that “the U.K. courts have not determined that extraditing Mr. Assange would be repressive, unfair, or an abuse of process.”
Nor have they determined that his human rights, such as the right to a fair trial and the freedom of speech, would be violated by extradition. They also did not determine whether he would get proper treatment while in the United States, especially in terms of his health.
Although not necessarily the end of the story, the judgment represents a significant turning point in Assange’s protracted struggle to avoid going on trial in the United States. In order to appeal, Assange has 14 days.
In order for Assange to face prosecution on 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer abuse, the U.S. has urged British authorities to extradite him. According to American authorities, Assange illegally assisted Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, in stealing secret diplomatic cables and military documents that WikiLeaks eventually released, endangering people’s lives.
“The conflict is still ongoing. A fresh legal dispute is just being started, “Stella Assange, Assange’s wife, remarked. “A bad day for journalistic freedom and for British democracy,” she remarked of the U.K. judgment.
She asserted that Julian done nothing improper. “He is not a criminal and has not committed any crimes. He works as a publisher and a journalist, and he is being penalized for it.”
In April, a British judge authorized the extradition, leaving the government with the ultimate say. The decision was reached following a legal dispute that reached the U.K. Supreme Court.
Human rights and journalism organizations have urged Britain to deny the extradition request.
Assange’s supporters and attorneys contend that the 50-year-old was working in the capacity of a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment freedom of expression protections for disclosing papers that revealed misbehavior by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They contend that his case has political overtones.
Although American officials have stated that any term is likely to be substantially shorter than that, Assange’s attorneys claim he may spend up to 175 years in prison if found guilty in the U.S.
Since his arrest in 2019 for jumping bail after a different court dispute, Assange has been detained at Britain’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison in London. Prior to that, he spent seven years hiding out within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to prevent being extradited there to face rape and sexual assault charges.
Due to the passage of time, Sweden ended its investigation into sex offenses in November 2019.