WikiLeaks founder extradition nears
WikiLeaks founder extradition nears

After the US government won its case in the High Court in London, the 50-year-old WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was due to be extradited from the UK to the US.

The Associated Press reported that a British Court of Appeal overturned an earlier ruling and refused to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States on mental health grounds.

The decision opened the door to the extradition of Assange to the United States, where he was accused of spying on WikiLeaks' publication of government documents.

The judge said the court upheld the appeal. He added that the United States assured Britain that the arrest of Assange would meet certain conditions.

The Australian businessman is accused of violating espionage laws and conspiring to hack government computers, among other things.

Assange was not allowed to attend the hearing in person. He was wanted by US authorities for releasing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and diplomatic letters in 2010 and 2011.

US authorities said his actions endangered the lives of others and charged him with 18 counts, meaning he faces 175 years in prison.

Amnesty International said the allegations against Assange were politically motivated and should be dropped.

She added that the US pledge made Assange vulnerable and untrustworthy and should be denied.

The group said that these guarantees are not credible because it realizes that it reserves the right to withdraw these guarantees.

"Julian's life is once again seriously threatened, and journalists have the right to publish material that the government and companies believe is inappropriate," WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristen Grafson said in a statement.

"It's a matter of copyright, that freedom of the press is not threatened by the great powers," she added.

WikiLeaks founder can be extradited

The US complaint came after a local judge in London ruled that Assange should not be extradited on January 4 for risk of suicide in a US prison.

Judge Vanessa Paraitser said in January that the rendition was frustrating due to Assange's mental health.

The activist founded WikiLeaks in 2006 to expose the leak of confidential information and information from unknown sources.

Over the years, Assange has won numerous journalistic awards, including the 2008 New Media Economist Award and the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Journalism Award.

Assange maintained throughout the process that he was nothing more than a journalist and editor. Assange has spent most of the past 10 years in prison.

It all started in 2012 when he was in hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. This came after his appeal to the UK Supreme Court for his extradition to Sweden failed, where authorities had hoped to question him over the rape allegations.

Although the Swedish case was later dropped, Assange was expelled from the embassy in April 2019. He was arrested in the UK for skipping bail. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison and remains in detention.

The final decision to extradite Assange now rests with the British Home Secretary, although Assange has an appeal.

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