The High Court in the United Kingdom has ruled that WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, can be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage.
This ruling by the High Court overturns a ruling from a lower court, which said that Assange could not be extradited to the United States due to his mental health. The United States accused Assange of violating the Espionage Act by publishing classified military and diplomatic documents, saying that this put the country’s national security at risk.
Assange had been arrested in April 2019 at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had resided since 2012. Ecuador granted Assange asylum after he said that he feared his human rights might be violated if he were to be extracted from the United Kingdom.
BREAKING: A British appellate court has opened the door for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States, overturning a lower court ruling. The decision can be appealed. https://t.co/ZvSsPrHMkB
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 10, 2021
The U.S. has indicted Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents. Although the longest prison sentence possible for these charges is 175 years, James Lewis, an attorney for the U.S. government, said “the longest sentence ever imposed for this offense is 63 months.”
The U.S. government has promised that Assange will not be serving his sentence in the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. The federal prison has been described by one former warden, Robert Hood, as “fate worse than death” that was “not built for humanity.”
Instead, the U.S. has agreed that the Australian native will be allowed serve any prison sentence in Australia.
“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,″ the High Court’s ruling stated. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”
According to his legal team, Assange will seek to appeal the decision to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. (READ: TUCKER: McConnell Ordered Trump Not To Pardon Assange, Suggested Senate Will Impeach If He Does)
Julian Assange had released documents in WikiLeaks labeled “Vault 7” such as the US Army manual for Guantanamo prison camp, a video of U.S. Apache helicopter killing civilians in Iraq, Iraq and Afghanistan war documents, State Department cables (which has also been called “Cablegate”), and nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails in 2016.
It had been revealed in a 7,500-word investigation by Yahoo News that the CIA had been planning to abduct or assassinate Julian Assange. These plans were discussed “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration and were confirmed by multiple officials, one being a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries,” the former senior counterintelligence official told Yahoo News.