United States wins appeal over extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 10, 2021, 06:35 PM IST
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A file photo of Julian Assange. Photograph:(AFP)

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The United States won an appeal in London's High Court to have Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradited to face criminal charges

The United States authorities on Friday (December 10) have won a bid in London's High Court to have Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradited from the United Kingdom to the US to face criminal charges. 

The decision overturned the UK court's January ruling that stated that the 50-year-old could not be extradited because of concerns over his mental health and the Australian would be a suicide risk in the US justice system. 

Assange is facing charges in the US system under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011. The US authorities claimed that the release of confidential records had put lives in danger. 

Giving the judgement, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: "That risk is in our judgment excluded by the assurances which are offered.

"It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently."

Two appeal judges in London Hight Court accepted the assurances given by the United States that Assange would not face the strictest measures before any trial or after conviction.

"That conclusion is sufficient to determine this appeal in the USA's favour," they said.

As per the BBC report, Lord Justice Holroyde has indicated that Assange founder was seeking to bring another appeal, however, there's no clarity that whether extradition judgement can be further challenged.

Russia reacts to the ruling

Russia called the ruling "shameful" as foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called it "a political case against a journalist and public figure - another manifestation of the cannibalistic worldview of the Anglo-Saxon alliance".

On the other hand, Amnesty International raised questions over the assurances given by the US and added how Assange would be treated if extradited to face trial, calling them "inherently unreliable".

It is being understood that he could be jailed for up to 175 years in the US, although the exact sentence is difficult to estimate at the moment. 

(With inputs from agencies)