Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to US approved by UK court

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(Video Credit: France 24 English)

A London court gave the green light on Wednesday for the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on numerous counts of alleged spying, and the ruling will now head to British Home Secretary Priti Patel who will decide whether he will be booted to America or not.

The extradition has been in the works for several years. Assange’s attorneys have four weeks to submit arguments to Patel arguing against the extradition.

The US government has reportedly pledged that Assange will not be made the subject of “special administrative measures,” nor will he be held at a maximum-security prison before or after his trial, according to CNN. Patel will also be asking that Assange not be executed.

Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers told Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring that the home secretary would be receiving “serious submissions” on US sentencing law and practices, according to the BBC.

“You, of course, have no option but to send this case to the Secretary of State,” Summers stated. “It is not for me to raise fresh evidence [at this stage] even though there have been serious developments in this case.”

“In layman’s terms, I am duty-bound to send your case to the secretary of state for a decision,” Goldspring ruled during a brief hearing that took place on Wednesday.

Assange was not present for the high-profile, much-anticipated ruling. He did, however, watch the proceedings remotely from the high-security Belmarsh Prison in London.

Protesters showed up right on cue to oppose Assange’s extradition, including former Labour Party leader and avowed socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

“He’s done absolutely no more than telling the truth to the world,” Corbyn said in an interview with Sky News. “We will carry on campaigning.”

Assange is facing 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse according to the Department of Justice for reportedly leaking national defense information in connection to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The charges stem from accusations that he assisted former Army data analyst Chelsea Manning in illegally obtaining sensitive US documents. He published thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison for his crimes.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison following his arrest in 2010. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence in 2010 and Manning was released that year.

Assange was taken into custody by British officials on April 11, 2019. He was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy after they revoked his political asylum.

The Wikileaks founder was arrested over rape charges pressed against him in 2010. Those charges were later dropped but the Justice Department requested on June 11, 2019, that Britain extradite Assange to the United States.

Assange can appeal the extradition to the British Supreme Court but there is no guarantee they will hear the case. His attorneys have reportedly not indicated whether they will attempt to appeal the extradition at this late date.

On March 23, during visiting hours in prison, Assange married his long-time partner Stella Morris. There is no word if she is planning to follow him to the United States if he is extradited but it is a good bet that she and others will.


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