Assange gets nod to appeal US extradition


Assange’s lawyers now have 14 days to prepare the application to the Supreme Court….reports Asian Lite News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won permission from a court in London to appeal against his extradition from the United Kingdom (UK) to the US, where he faces espionage charges.

The High Court in London decided on Monday that Assange had an arguable point of law that UK Supreme Court justices may want to consider, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the High Court refused him permission for a direct appeal, meaning the Supreme Court will first have to decide whether it should hear his challenge.

Assange’s lawyers now have 14 days to prepare the application to the Supreme Court.

In December 2021, the High Court ruled that Assange can be extradited, as it overturned an earlier judgment based on concerns about Assange’s mental health and risk of suicide in a maximum-security prison in the US.

Assange, 50, is wanted by the United States on espionage charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified documents that shed light on war crimes committed by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. If put on trial and convicted in the US, the whistleblower faces up to 175 years in prison.

In September, it was revealed that senior US officials and the CIA were allegedly discussing the possibility of kidnapping and killing Assange in 2017 while he was hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange has been held at south London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019. In January, a lower court refused the US request to extradite Assange due to concerns over his mental health, citing the risk that highly-restrictive conditions of US prisons could make him suicidal.

In November last year, Assange and his fiancee Stella Moris had filed a lawsuit against UK Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and the head of Belmarsh prison, for preventing their marriage.

The couple claimed that the obstacles placed by the UK authorities in this matter are part of a political war against Assange.

Assange and Moris have been engaged for five years and have two children together. They have asked for assistance in arranging the marriage in May, when the whistleblower was already in jail awaiting extradition appeal trial, the newspaper said. However, the process stalled and Assange applied for official permission directly with the Belmarsh chief on October 7, to no effect. The couple’s lawyers also reportedly failed to get a response from the prison authorities. (with inputs from ANI/Sputnik)

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