Assange Faces Exit From UK

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A Supreme Court spokesperson said that the appeal “did not raise an arguable point of law”…reports Asian Lite News

Westminster Magistrates’ Court has formally issued an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after years of legal fighting

The fate of WikiLeaks founder is now relying on Home Secretary Priti Patel.  Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring issued the order during a seven-minute hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

“In layman’s terms, I am duty bound to send your case to the secretary of state for a decision,” said the Magistrate.

The 50-year-old was not present in court physically and instead watched the administrative proceedings by video link from Belmarsh Prison.

Earlier, the Supreme Court refused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange permission to appeal against a High Court decision to extradite him to the US to face espionage charges.

A Supreme Court spokesperson said that the appeal “did not raise an arguable point of law”, Xinhua news agency reported.

In December 2021, Britain’s High Court ruled that Assange can be extradited to the US, as it overturned a lower court ruling based on concerns about Assange’s mental health and risk of suicide in a maximum-security prison in the US.  Assange’s lawyers had sought to appeal against the High Court’s decision at the Supreme Court.

  Assange, 50, is wanted in the US on allegations of disclosing national defense information following WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked military documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars a decade ago. He has been held at south London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019.

 Lawyers for the US said earlier that Assange would be allowed to transfer to Australia, his home country, to serve any prison sentence he may be given.

 Scores of supporters protested near the court during the hearing. Among them was former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who told those assembled: “He’s done absolutely no more than telling the truth to the world. We will carry on campaigning.”

Assange’s legal team has claimed the publication of classified documents exposed US wrongdoing and was in the public interest. They said the prosecution was politically motivated and that he faces up to 175 years in jail.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had offered political asylum to the WikiLeaks founder, after a UK court earlier blocked the latter’s extradition to the US, citing concerns over his “mental health and “risk of suicide”.

Mr Lopez said he will ask the Foreign Affairs Ministry to contact British officials over the asylum offer and request that Assange be pardoned, reports Xinhua news agency.  “It is a triumph of justice. I commend England’s action because Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance,” Lopez Obrador told reporters, referring to the ruling. “We will give him protection, we will take that step,” the President added.

  The 50-year-old, who spent almost seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, faces an 18-count indictment from US authorities accusing him of recruiting hackers to steal military secrets.

  Assange faces an 18-count indictment from the US government, accusing him of conspiring to hack into US military databases to acquire sensitive secret information relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which was then published on the Wikileaks website.  According to him, the information exposed abuses by the US military.

  Assange was jailed for 50 weeks in May 2019 for breaching his bail conditions after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He sought refuge in the embassy for seven years from 2012 until he was arrested in April 2019.

Assange, who married his fiancée Stella Moris behind bars last month, has been held in Belmarsh prison for three years since being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation he denied.

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