London High Court Hears Julian Assange’s Extradition Appeal

The London High Court is currently hearing Julian Assange’s appeal against his extradition to the United States. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is facing criminal charges related to espionage and the publication of classified information. The outcome of this hearing will determine whether he will be sent to the US to stand trial.

Assange’s legal team is arguing for a review of the extradition order issued by former home secretary Priti Patel in April 2022. They also aim to challenge the 2021 court order that upheld Assange’s extradition. The two-day hearing, which began on Tuesday, will see arguments presented before two senior judges.

WikiLeaks gained international attention in 2010 and 2011 when it released a significant amount of classified military files, including footage of a US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that resulted in civilian casualties. The leaks, which included documents on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, were considered the largest security breaches in US military history.

Assange has been indicted in the US on 18 charges, including espionage and computer misuse, for his role in the publication of these classified documents. US prosecutors allege that he conspired with Chelsea Manning, a former army intelligence analyst, to obtain and disseminate the information. The charges against Assange are made under the 1917 Espionage Act, a law never before used for publishing classified information.

Supporters of Assange argue that he should be protected under the press freedoms granted by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. They contend that he acted as a journalist to expose US military wrongdoing. Amnesty International has called for the US authorities to drop the charges, stating that the pursuit of Assange is an assault on the right to freedom of expression.

Assange’s legal battle has spanned over a decade. He was initially arrested in the UK in 2010 on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden over rape allegations. Assange denied the allegations and claimed that they were a pretext to extradite him to the US. After a series of legal proceedings, including seeking asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, his asylum was revoked in 2019, leading to his arrest.

The extradition hearings began in February 2020 but were adjourned after a week. In January 2021, Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against Assange’s extradition, citing concerns about his mental health and the risk of suicide. However, the US authorities won an appeal in December 2021, and the High Court is now reviewing the case.

If Assange’s appeal is successful, his case will proceed to a full appeal. If he fails, his legal team plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, where he already has an application lodged. However, there are concerns that he could be extradited before the European Court takes up the case.

Assange’s supporters fear that if he is extradited, he could face a lengthy prison sentence in a high-security US jail. US prosecutors have stated that the sentence would not exceed 63 months, while his supporters argue that he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. This is such an important case that needs to be widely discussed and shared. I will definitely share this post on my social media platforms to help spread awareness about Julian Assange’s extradition appeal. Let’s make sure more people are informed about this crucial issue.

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