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Friday, May 20, 2022

British court allows Julian Assange to appeal extradition to the US

A court in the United Kingdom on Monday ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could appeal the extradition decision to the United States.

Assange, 50, is accused by US authorities of helping a former intelligence analyst obtain classified information before releasing the information on WikiLeaks for anyone to access, a series of actions that US prosecutors say endangered national security and the lives of sources. that were mentioned in the documents. .

Last year, the High Court in London ruled that the assurances given by US authorities were sufficient to guarantee Assange’s humane treatment and overturned a lower court ruling that sending Assange to the United States would be “repressive.” Assange appealed the latter decision a few days later.

In a decision released on Monday, the Supreme Court said Assange could appeal to the UK Supreme Court, but only if the court agreed.

“The defendant’s request for certification of the legal act was satisfied,” the judges said in their conclusion.

They stated that the question of whether the High Court could rely on U.S. assurances of Assangehis treatment, which was not given in the initial proceedings, was a subject on which his legal team could seek clarification.

“Whether this issue needs to be aired in this court depends on its decision. We respectfully request that the Clerk of the Supreme Court take action to expedite the consideration of any application for leave to appeal that follows.”

Assange has 14 days to file an application with the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides not to hear his appeal, the extradition can be approved by the Home Secretary, whose decision can also be challenged in court.

Stella Maurice, partner of Julian Assange, speaks to the media in front of the Crown Court in London on January 24, 2022. (Kirsty O’Connor/Pennsylvania via AP)

“Make no mistake: today we won in court,” Stella Maurice, Assange’s fiancée, told reporters.

“Our struggle continues and we will fight this until Julian is free,” she added.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement that it welcomes the decision, while reaffirming its position, shared by other civil rights groups, that US prosecutors should drop all charges against Assange.

Amnesty International describes the founder of WikiLeaks as the first publisher charged under the Espionage Act. Proponents say WikiLeaks’ release of the secret collection of documents is protected by US and international law.

US authorities defend the allegations, arguing that Assange is not a journalist.

“This [was] is clear from his conduct, as alleged in the indictment, i.e. his involvement in conspiring with the security clearance holder and assisting him in obtaining classified information and publishing the names of people,” said John Demers, Assistant Attorney General US National Affairs. security, told reporters in 2019

Tom Ozimek and contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers US news and stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.

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