UK Court Places Julian Assange Extradition Approval on Hold

UK Court Allowing Julian Assange To Appeal

( – The saga with Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has continued unabated for years. US Federal prosecutors indicted him on charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and espionage in 2018, leaving the controversial tech entrepreneur to fight extradition to the US ever since. The UK has maintained him in custody, but he recently scored a win.

Assange Seeks Appeal

In February, the Wikileaks founder sought permission to appeal the UK’s 2022 decision to extradite him to the US. He fears his life might be at risk because US authorities allege he placed lives at risk. The judges who heard Assange’s plea have since ruled on the case.

While they haven’t reversed course on the extradition approval, they have extended it by three weeks to provide US officials time to reassure the UK courts that they would honor his First Amendment rights and take the death penalty off the table. In its ruling, the court said that Assange stands a real chance of winning his appeal on at least three points of the nine he cited. However, they refused the notion that the US harbored political motivations regarding his prosecution, dismissing a CIA plan to kidnap him from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he spent seven years sequestered voluntarily, as unrelated to the case at hand.

The Real Issue at Hand

Nick Vamos, who heads up the business crime department of Peters & Peters law firm, said the court made the right decision by dismissing some of Assange’s claims. Speaking with CNN, he noted that the US government isn’t prosecuting him “for journalism or for exposing grave State crimes, but for hacking and then publishing the names of sources” whom he placed “in serious danger.” He also noted that the US would likely provide the requested reassurances, resulting in his extradition.

Should the US fail to provide those assurances, UK courts will grant Assange leave to appeal. Should the US follow through with the court’s request within the specified timeframe, the court would schedule another hearing for May 20. That is the last option he has available to him in the UK.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Assange is entirely out of options. From there, he can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but after that, it’s game over. If the US extradited, prosecuted, and convicted him, he could face nearly 200 years in prison. His lawyer, however, contends that his life is at risk if the UK should turn him over to US authorities.

Through it all, Assange has maintained his innocence. Free speech advocates claim extraditing him to the US would be a gross violation of press freedoms.

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