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UK High Court grants WikiLeaks founder Assange right to appeal his extradition to US

March 26, 2024 at 5:07 pm

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks [FlickR]

A UK High Court ruling on Tuesday granted WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, the right to appeal his extradition to the US and set a new hearing date for the case in May before adjourning it, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a partial victory for Assange, the UK High Court has decided against his immediate extradition to the US, where he is wanted on espionage charges.

The judges said Assange could file a new appeal, unless US authorities provide additional assurances about his treatment.

The trial has been adjourned until 20 May.

Assange ‘remains exposed to the death penalty’

Stella, Assange’s wife, said she is “astounded” by the Court’s decision to postpone hearing her husband’s appeal to May.

READ: Support, uncertainty as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing continues

According to her, the ruling means that Assange “remains exposed to the death penalty”.

“Yet, what the courts have done is to invite a political intervention from the US,” she added.

“He is a journalist and he is being persecuted because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives,” she noted.

This situation is, she said, “a signal to all of you that if you expose the interests that are driving war they will come after you”.

She said the US administration should not provide assurances to the court and “should drop this shameful case”.

“This is a shame on every democracy,” she said.

What happened?

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

The UK High Court, in a pivotal 2021 ruling, decreed that Assange should be extradited, dismissing assertions over his fragile mental state and the 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.

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