Julian Assange’s extradition to U.S. approved by British government

The British authorities on Friday ordered the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US to face expenses of spying, a milestone — however not the tip — of a decade-long authorized saga sparked by his web site’s publication of labeled U.S. paperwork.

House Secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition order on Friday, her division mentioned. It follows a British court docket ruling in April that Assange could possibly be despatched to the U.S.

The House Workplace mentioned in a press release that “the U.Okay. courts haven’t discovered that it might be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of course of to extradite Mr. Assange.

“Nor have they discovered that extradition could be incompatible together with his human rights, together with his proper to a good trial and to freedom of expression, and that while within the U.S. he might be handled appropriately, together with in relation to his well being.”

The choice is a giant second in Assange’s years-long battle to keep away from dealing with trial within the U.S. — although not essentially the tip of the story.

Stella Assange, spouse of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, talks to the media in London after the extradition determination from Britain’s House Workplace on Friday. (Jonathan Brady/PA/The Related Press)

Assange has 14 days to attraction.

“Right this moment shouldn’t be the tip of the combat. It is just the start of a brand new authorized battle,” mentioned Assange’s spouse, Stella Assange. She mentioned the U.Okay. determination marked “a darkish day for press freedom and for British democracy.”

“Julian did nothing improper,” she mentioned. “He has dedicated no crime and isn’t a prison. He’s a journalist and a writer, and he’s being punished for doing his job.”

Assange crew contemplating all choices

A British choose authorised the extradition in April, leaving the ultimate determination to the federal government. The ruling got here after a authorized battle that went all the best way to the U.Okay. Supreme Courtroom.

The U.S. has requested British authorities to extradite Assange so he can stand trial on 17 expenses of violating the Espionage Act and one cost of conspiring to commit illegal laptop intrusion over WikiLeaks’s publication of an enormous trove of labeled paperwork greater than a decade in the past. American prosecutors say Assange unlawfully helped U.S. Military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal labeled diplomatic cables and navy information that WikiLeaks later revealed, placing lives in danger.

WATCH | Assange extradition saga nearer to conclusion (April 20):

Julian Assange nearer to being extradited to U.S.

A British choose has formally authorised the extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. to face spying expenses. The case will now go to Britain’s inside minister for a call.

Journalism organizations and human rights teams have known as on Britain to refuse the extradition request.

Supporters and attorneys for Assange, 50, argue that he was performing as a journalist and is entitled to First Modification protections of freedom of speech for publishing paperwork that uncovered U.S. navy wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They argue that his case is politically motivated.

Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, mentioned it was “disappointing information that ought to concern anybody who cares concerning the First Modification and the proper to publish.”

Assange’s attorneys mentioned they might mount a brand new authorized problem, and authorized consultants say the case may take months and even years extra to conclude.

“We are going to attraction this all the best way, if essential to the European Courtroom of Human Rights,” Assange legal professional Jennifer Robinson mentioned.

Robinson requested U.S. President Joe Biden to drop the fees introduced in opposition to Assange throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, arguing they posed a “grave risk” to free speech.

Assange’s attorneys say he may resist 175 years in jail if he’s convicted within the U.S., although American authorities have mentioned any sentence is prone to be a lot decrease than that.

Entrance Burner21:43U.S. espionage trial looms for Julian Assange

In 2010, Julian Assange uploaded a whole bunch of 1000’s of U.S. intelligence paperwork to WikiLeaks, the web site he co-founded. Twelve years, an array of allegations within the U.S. and Sweden, and an prolonged keep on the Ecuadorian embassy in London later, a British choose has now authorised his extradition to the U.S. to face spying expenses. The order has been despatched to the U.Okay. residence secretary for remaining approval. Right this moment, The Guardian reporter Ben Quinn joins us to clarify how British courts arrived at this order, what recourse stays for Assange, and the chilling precedent his supporters concern an extradition may set.

Amnesty Worldwide secretary normal Agnes Callamard mentioned Friday that extraditing Assange “would put him at nice danger and sends a chilling message to journalists the world over.”

“If the extradition proceeds, Amnesty Worldwide is extraordinarily involved that Assange faces a excessive danger of extended solitary confinement, which might violate the prohibition on torture or different in poor health remedy,” she mentioned. “Diplomatic assurances offered by the U.S. that Assange won’t be saved in solitary confinement can’t be taken on face worth given earlier historical past.”

Assange has been held at Britain’s high-security Belmarsh Jail in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail throughout a separate authorized battle. Earlier than that, he spent seven years contained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to keep away from extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Sweden dropped the intercourse crimes investigations in November 2019 as a result of an excessive amount of time had elapsed.

In March, Assange and his spouse, who’ve two sons collectively, married in a jail ceremony.

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