WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Begins Last-Ditch Battle To Stop US Extradition

Supporters of Julian Assange hail him as an anti-establishment hero and journalist.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday launched what could be his last chance to block extradition from Britain to the United States, after more than 13 years battling authorities in British courts.

U.S. prosecutors are trying Assange, 52, on 18 charges related to WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast amounts of secret U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

They claim the leak put the agent’s life at risk, and there is no excuse for his criminal conduct. Many of Mr. Assange’s supporters praise him as a hero and journalist for the dissidents who exposed U.S. misdeeds and are persecuted for alleged war crimes.

Assange’s legal battle began in 2010, when he barricaded himself in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years before being hauled away and jailed in 2019 for breaching his bail conditions. Since then, he has been held in a high-security prison in south-east London, where he also got married.

Britain finally approved his extradition to the United States in 2022, after a judge initially blocked the move due to concerns about his mental health and said he was at risk of suicide if deported.

His lawyers will seek to overturn the approval in a two-day hearing before two judges at London’s High Court in what could be the last chance to block his extradition in a British court. It is planned that Her wife, Stella, said last week that this was a matter of life and death for her.

They will argue that Assange’s prosecution is politically motivated, the first time a publisher has been charged under the US Espionage Act, and an unforgivable attack on free speech.

His supporters include Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, news organizations that have worked with WikiLeaks, and Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who last week voted in favor of a motion calling for him to return to Australia. is included.

Pope Francis even granted his wife an audience last year.

“He’s going to die.”

If Assange wins permission in this case, a full appeals tribunal will be held to revisit his challenge. If he loses, his only option will be to go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), where an appeal has already been lodged pending the London judgment.

Stella Assange said last week that she would apply to the ECHR for an emergency injunction if necessary. She said she would not survive if her husband was handed over.

“His health is deteriorating both physically and mentally,” she said. “His life is in danger every day he is in prison, and if he is extradited he will die.”

Mr Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton compared the WikiLeaks founder to Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who died in prison on Friday while serving a 30-year sentence.

“I know what it feels like to have a loved one unjustly imprisoned without hope,” he told the BBC. “The fact that they die is something we live in fear of, that Julian will be lost to us, that he will be lost in an American prison, or even in a British prison. I’m afraid I’m going to die.”

WikiLeaks first gained attention in 2010 when it released a U.S. military video showing a 2007 Apache helicopter attack on Baghdad that killed more than a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. Ta.

It then released thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables exposing America’s often highly critical assessments of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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