Home Europe Julian Assange Is Not Being Extradited To US For Now

Julian Assange Is Not Being Extradited To US For Now

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being taken from a British court (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP file)

In a partial victory for the WikiLeaks founder, a British court has said that Julian Assange can’t immediately be extradited to the United States.

The judges said that they would grant Assange a new appeal until and unless authorities in US give further further assurances on what will happen to him.

The case has been adjourned until May 20.

The US has accused the WikiLeaks founder of leaking confidential US military records and cables about the Afghan and Iraq wars in 2010 and 2011 and want him to be extradited. According to the Guardian, Assange’s legal team argued that to do so would be in breach of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US, which prohibits extradition for political offences.

“This legally unprecedented prosecution seeks to criminalise the application of ordinary journalistic practices of obtaining and publishing true classified information of the most obvious and important public interest,” Edward Fitzgerald KC, who represents Assange, submitted to the court.

WikiLeaks also posted on X regarding Assange’s extradition quoting Amnesty International. The quote stated that a guilty plea would undermine “the public’s right to information about what their governments are doing in their name (would) be profoundly undermined.”

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Assange’s legal team has also accused the CIA of looking to assassinate him.

The WikiLeaks founder is currently being held in UK’s Belmarsh prison since 2019. Legal officials say that if he were to be extradited to the US he would be jailed for 175 years. The US justifies Assange’s arrest and extradition stating the release of documents by WikiLeaks put the lives of their agents at risk in various countries.

Assange has one other legal option, he could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights should he lose the verdict in the British court. The European court could order the British court not to extradite him.

A plea deal for Assange had been reported to be taking place with discussions held between his lawyers and the US justice department. But Assange’s lawyers reported that the US had not changed its mind. One of Assange’s lawyers said in a recent statement:

“It is inappropriate for Mr Assange’s lawyers to comment while his case is before the UK high court other than to say we have been given no indication that the Department of Justice intends to resolve the case and the United States is continuing with as much determination as ever to seek his extradition on all 18 charges, exposing him to 175 years in prison.”

With inputs from Associated Press