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German Chancellor speaks out against Julian Assange’s extradition to the US

March 4, 2024 at 2:58 pm

Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the first day of Assange’s final appeal hearing at the High Court against the US’s extradition order in London, United Kingdom on February 20, 2024. [Wiktor Szymanowicz – Anadolu Agency]

German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Monday, spoke against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s possible extradition to the US, Anadolu Agency reports.

“I am of the opinion that it would be a good thing if the British courts gave him the necessary protection,” Scholz said on Monday.

“Because he has to expect prosecution in the US, given the fact that he has betrayed American state secrets,” he added.

Scholz made the remarks during a question-answer session with students of the Gottlieb-Daimler-School in the south-western city of Sindelfingen.

The Social Democrat Chancellor expressed hope that chances of Assange avoiding extradition have increased after last month’s hearing at the UK High Court in London.

“The representatives of the United States were unable to assure the British judges at the last hearing that the possible punishment would be within acceptable limits from the UK’s point of view,” Scholz said.

Assange faces a 175-year sentence in the US if his extradition is not denied.

What happened?

Assange, who has been detained in a UK prison since 2019, faces extradition concerning allegations of leaking classified military documents in 2010-2011.

The UK High Court, in a pivotal 2021 ruling, said Assange should be extradited, dismissing assertions about his fragile mental state and risks he might face in a US correctional facility.

Following suit, the Supreme Court in 2022 upheld the decision, while then-Home Secretary, Priti Patel, affirmed the extradition order, intensifying the legal battle.

In his latest bid for a reprieve, Assange is seeking authorisation to scrutinise Patel’s determination and challenge the initial 2021 court verdict.

Should this recourse falter, Assange would have exhausted all available avenues for appeal within the UK legal system, triggering the extradition process.

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