WikiLeaks Founder Narrowly Escapes Extradition to U.S.

( – As of March 26th, 2024, the founder of WikiLeaks was permitted by the High Court in London to appeal the decision that he be extradited to the U.S. if the U.S. doesn’t provide the High Court with suitable assurances about his treatment.

The High Court gave the U.S. three weeks to provide assurances that Julian Assange would be provided the same protection as a U.S. citizen under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and that he would not be subject to the death penalty. Assange is Australian, and the High Court wants assurance that he will not be “prejudiced at trial or sentencing” for his country of origin.

If the U.S. does not give the High Court these assurances, an appeal hearing will be held. Should the U.S. submit the assurances, a hearing will be held on May 20th to determine if the “assurances are satisfactory” and a final decision on extradition will be made.

Assange was indicted on 18 charges for a series of posts on WikiLeaks where he released several hundred thousand documents exposing classified information related to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A lawyer for the U.S., James Lewis claims the classified information released by Assange “threatened damage to the strategic and national security interests of the United States”, as well as placing individuals named in the documents in harm’s way.

Attorney for Assange, Edward Fitzgerald, argued that Assange “engaged in regular journalistic practice” when he posted the documents and should be protected by the First Amendment. Fitzgerald also called the prosecution “politically motivated retaliation” for exposing “U.S. government criminality.”

Assange’s wife, Stella, spoke to a large gathering outside of London’s Royal Courts of Justice last month. She told them her husband’s health has suffered greatly due to several years of confinement and she believes “if he’s extradited, he will die.”

Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 where he remained for seven years. He spent the past five years in Belmarsh Prison.

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