Britain's Supreme Court Monday turned down a request from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to review his case. The decision has exhausted UK procedural alternatives and the way is now clear for the 50-year-old Australian national to be extradited to the United States.
Wikileaks was the largest leak of confidential diplomatic messages in history and for that, Assange risks a harsh sentence for the disclosure of documents containing information on war crimes committed by the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Supreme Court found the grounds argued by Assange's defense to seek a new verdict were non-existent.
Following Monday's ruling, Assange's case now goes to the Home Office for final extradition authorization in a few weeks, which Secretary Priti Patel is bound to greenlight unreservedly.
Judge Valeria Baraister had first denied Assange's extradition, based on the health and psychological conditions of the Australian activist - who spent seven years as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and then three more years at the maximum-security London penitentiary of Belmarsh awaiting trial. Baraister made that ruling despite controversial rape charges brought against Assange from Sweden and considering an expert report that he was at risk of suicide if handed over to the United States.
But in December, a Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and accepted assurances from US authorities that Assange would be treated fairly. They also pledged to make sure Assange was not placed in solitary confinement, in addition to seeking a sentence below the legal maximum, and even hinted they might allow Assange to serve out part of his sentence in his native Australia.
While sheltering at Ecuador's embassy in London, Assange had to children with South African lawyer Stella Morris, whom he eventually married.
In the US, Assange is accused not only of the alleged crime of complicity in the hacking of the Pentagon archives but also of violating US laws on espionage when publishing confidential documents. Hence, Assange's support from human rights activists linked to the UN and NGOs such as Amnesty International or Reporters Without Borders.
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