Julian Assange’s extradition case moves to next stage after US provides British court with assurances

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The United States has provided guarantees requested by Britain’s High Court in London to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited from Britain to the United States to face spying charges.

The High Court last month ruled that if the United States fails to provide guarantees, it will allow an appeal challenging Mr. Assange’s extradition over WikiLeaks’ publication of 14-year-old classified US military documents.

US lawyers have warned that Mr Assange will be able to invoke his First Amendment right to free speech during his US trial, and that the Australian publisher will face new charges that could lead to a death sentence. I was asked to guarantee that I would not be questioned.

Those bonds were submitted by Tuesday’s deadline, and a hearing was set for May 20 in a British court to determine whether Assange could be extradited. If the court rules in favor of extradition, Assange’s only option is to European Court of Human Rights.

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The United States has provided guarantees requested by the British High Court in London to allow Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States. (FOX News Digital/Landon Mion)

The 52-year-old Assange “has the ability to assert and seek to rely on the rights and protections afforded to him under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in court,” according to documents filed by the United States. But the document acknowledges that “determinations regarding the applicability of the First Amendment are solely within the purview of the courts of the United States.”

The document, reviewed by Fox News Digital, also claims it does not seek or impose the death penalty.

“These warranties are binding on all individuals now or subsequently entrusted with the authority to decide matters,” the document reads.

Assange’s lawyers have previously said any guarantees are meaningless and believe their client cannot rely on them if he faces extradition.

assange’s face 17 charges under the Espionage Act One count alleging receiving, possessing, and communicating confidential information to the public and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. If extradited, Assange would stand trial in Alexandria, Virginia, and could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.

The charges were brought by the Trump administration’s Justice Department over WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of leaked cables by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. The information detailed alleged war crimes committed by the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay detention center, as well as cases of torture and seizure by the CIA.

A British District Court judge rejected a 2021 request for Assange to be extradited to the United States on the grounds that he would likely commit suicide if detained in harsh prison conditions in the United States. The High Court overturned that decision after obtaining assurances from the United States about his treatment.

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WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

A hearing in a British court on May 20 will decide whether Julian Assange can be extradited. (Getty Images)

Mr Assange’s family said they felt no solace after learning of the US assurance on Tuesday, and Mr Assange’s wife Stella said in a statement that the US had limited itself to “blatant weasel words”. “This diplomatic document does nothing to ease the feelings of our families,” he said. He is in extreme pain about his future and has the grim expectation of spending the rest of his life in isolation in a US prison for publishing his award-winning journalism. ”

Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, told Fox News Digital: “This diplomatic document marks another grim milestone in the persecution of Julian Assange.”

“We are counting down the days until May 20, when a British court will decide whether this political document from the US embassy in London is sufficient to order Julian’s extradition,” Shipton said. Ta.

The assurances came after US President Biden said last week that he was considering a request from Australia to drop the charges against Assange.

“With President Biden last week saying he was considering Australia’s request to drop the charges, now is the time to close this prosecution and reunite Julian with his family,” Shipton said.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment to FOX News Digital about the guarantee.

Last month, a British court sought guarantees from the United States and dismissed most of Mr Assange’s claims – six of the nine he had filed, including allegations of political prosecution and concerns about political prosecution. Dismissed. Alleged CIA conspiracy Under the Trump administration, Assange was kidnapped or murdered while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange has been held in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since April 11, 2019, when he was expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy for breaching his bail conditions. He had been applying for asylum at the embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden on charges of raping two women. He has not offered any guarantees that Sweden will protect him from extradition to the United States. The investigation into the sexual assault charges was ultimately closed.

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Stella Assange

Mr Assange’s wife Stella said the US had limited itself to “blatant weasel words” in providing guarantees to the British court. (AP)


The Obama administration decided in 2013 not to prosecute Assange over WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of confidential cables because it would have required the prosecution of journalists at major news organizations who had published the same material.

President Obama too Manning’s 35-year prison sentence commuted Manning, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in January 2017 for violating the Espionage Act and other charges, was released later that year after being imprisoned since 2010.

The Justice Department under President Trump has since moved to indict Assange under the Espionage Act, and the Biden administration continues to prosecute him.

Until Assange, no publisher had been charged under the Espionage Act, but many press freedom groups argue that his prosecution sets a dangerous precedent aimed at criminalizing journalism. .

Reuters contributed to this report.