Assange wins right to appeal extradition to US — RT World News

The 52-year-old Australian spent five years in a London prison after a long and dramatic period of asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK.

The British Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can file a final appeal in the United Kingdom against his extradition to the United States to stand trial on charges of publishing secret diplomatic and military files. The publisher is accused of espionage and faces up to 175 years in prison.

The hearing in the Supreme Court could have been the last chance for Assange's defense team to seek asylum in the British legal system, if the judges decided to reject his attempt. His lawyers have claimed that the US case against him is political in nature – in retaliation for his exposure of alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq – and that extraditing him to the United States would put his life and well-being at risk.

Two British judges who reviewed the situation decided that there was an arguable case against his extradition and ruled that he should be given a full appeal hearing again.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh high-security prison since 2019, when Quito revoked his political asylum and allowed British police to arrest him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At the time, he was jumping bail in a separate extradition request, which the Australian national claimed was a ruse by the US to get him into Swedish jurisdiction, as he claimed an attempt to extradite him to the US would have been easier. A US court charged Assange under the 2017 Espionage Act a month after his arrest in the United Kingdom.

In January 2021, a British judge ruled that Assange would not be extradited to the Americans, saying that he might commit suicide due to the harsh prison conditions in the United States. Washington's lawyers appealed the decision and provided guarantees of good treatment, which Britain decided were sufficient to extradite the criminals. The then Home Secretary, Priti Patel, authorized this in June 2022. Since then, Assange has lost one appeal against the pending transfer.

Supporters of the jailed publisher say he is being persecuted by the United States and its allies for revealing secrets that were embarrassing to Western countries.

“We have to be clear about who the criminals are. Just because they use the judicial system to imprison him, it does not mean that justice or the law – international law – is on their side.” his wife, Stella, said Monday.

Speaking after the ruling, she called out the decision “amazing” She confirmed that her husband is a political prisoner. She regretted that the court did not take into account allegations in the Western press that the CIA considered kidnapping or assassinating Assange during Donald Trump's presidency.

The United States alleges that Assange committed crimes in aiding and abetting whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who leaked secret US files to WikiLeaks in 2010. Officials claimed that the pro-transparency NGO put unspecified US assets at risk through its publications. However, this account was denied by a senior US counterintelligence officer during Manning's trial in 2013.

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