UK appeal against US extradition for Julian Assange to begin

by Admin
UK appeal against US extradition for Julian Assange to begin

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will begin his final appeal against extradition from Britain to the United States July 9-10, a judicial spokesperson said Tuesday.

London’s High Court granted Assange permission to appeal the extradition last month.
The Australian-born Assange, 52, has been held in high-security Belmarsh prison since 2019.

If he loses this appeal, Assange — who is accused by the U.S. of exposing sensitive secrets that endangered the lives of American operatives but who has become a figurehead for free speech advocates — could be swiftly extradited to the U.S.

He is wanted by the U.S. government on 18 charges, almost all under the 1917 Espionage Act, for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents from 2010 about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. called the security breaches the largest of their kind in U.S. military history.

Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, has accepted U.S. assurances that Assange would not face the death penalty, but in written submissions to the High Court, he asked to know if his client could use the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution at trial, which protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

But James Lewis, an attorney representing the U.S., told the court that the amendment does not apply to anyone “in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defense information giving the names of innocent sources to their grave and imminent risk of harm.”

Assange spent nearly seven years living in Ecuador’s embassy in London before his hosts withdrew his asylum status in 2019. London police immediately arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy for breaching bail conditions on unrelated charges, as well as on behalf of U.S. authorities.

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