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Montevideo, June 13th 2024 - 00:26 UTC

 

 

Assange granted another appeal on his extradition to the US

Monday, May 20th 2024 - 20:57 UTC
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It might take months for Assange's new appeal to be heard It might take months for Assange's new appeal to be heard

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted yet another opportunity to challenge a previous ruling ordering his extradition to the United States to stand trial for espionage, London's High Court decided Monday. Now it could be months before the appeal is heard.

Assange has been in British custody since April 2019, after being expelled from Ecuador's embassy where he had sought asylum for seven years. His supporters fear that should he be extradited he might face the rest of his life in an isolation cell at a maximum security facility. He faces up to 175 years in jail under the US Espionage Act having leaked 250,000 classified military and diplomatic documents that revealed war crimes and human rights abuses in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In March, the High Court ruled there was merit in the argument that the 52-year-old’s rights may be infringed upon in the US prison system. Washington, in response, reportedly offered additional assurances to treat Assange fairly. This time around, Assange’s defense team argued that if placed under isolation they would lose contact with their client. The Espionage Act prevents defendants from proper counseling citing public good grounds. The solicitors also argued that Assange might be discriminated against because he is a foreign national. Assange's defense has always maintained that the Australian national had nothing else but engage in regular journalistic practices to obtain and publish classified information and therefore his prosecution was politically motivated retribution.

Monday's ruling came after pleas from Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who on Sunday said Assange's extradition should be halted and added that the Australian investigator should be set free and decorated for his services to freedom of speech after revealing “secrets of the powerful.”

Two London magistrates found that the assurances given by American prosecutors that Assange could seek the protections provided for under the First Amendment were “blatantly inadequate” but accepted nonetheless a separate claim that the death penalty would not be sought.

Assange did not attend Monday's session citing health issues and remained at the high-security Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London where he has been held for the past five years.

Categories: Politics, International.

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