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Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder can appeal extradition to the United States

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder can appeal extradition to the United States

Image source, Getty Images

  • author, Dominic Casciani
  • Role, Internal Affairs Correspondent
  • Twitter,

The Supreme Court has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can lodge a new appeal against his extradition to the United States.

He was granted permission to appeal against the order to send him to the United States to stand trial on charges of leaking military secrets.

The decision means that Mr Assange will be able to challenge US guarantees over how his upcoming trial will be conducted and whether his right to freedom of expression will be violated.

Assange’s lawyers hugged each other in court after this latest ruling in the legal saga.

They said that the case against him was politically motivated.

In a short ruling this morning, two senior judges granted him leave to appeal against a previous order, ruling that he needed to have a full appeal in the UK.

Assange has fought extradition from the UK for more than a decade, after his WikiLeaks website published thousands of secret US documents in 2010 and 2011.

Mr Assange, currently in Belmarsh Prison, will have several months to prepare his appeal, which will relate to whether or not US courts will protect his right to freedom of expression as an Australian citizen.

He says that his revelations in 2010 revealed war crimes committed by the United States. Prosecutors say revealing this information puts people’s lives in danger.

This means he will remain in the UK for the time being.

Comment on the photo, Stella Assange, wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, outside the High Court after the ruling

Had the court ruled in favor of the United States, Mr. Assange would have exhausted all legal avenues in the United Kingdom.

The United States is seeking his extradition after publishing thousands of secret documents, which the US Department of Justice described as “one of the largest breaches of confidential information in the history of the United States.”

The files indicate that the US military killed civilians in unreported incidents during the war in Afghanistan.

US authorities say Assange put people’s lives at risk by failing to redact the names of intelligence agents in the documents, but his lawyers have said the case is a politically motivated form of “state retaliation”.

“He has literally exposed war crimes,” Assange told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday.

“This case is that country’s revenge against openness and accountability.”

At a hearing in March, the US government was given additional time to provide assurances to the court that Mr Assange would not receive the death penalty in the US, in addition to two other reasons:

  • That Mr. Assange will be able to rely on the First Amendment to the US Constitution – which protects freedom of expression
  • His Australian citizenship will not count against him

Last month, the judges confirmed that the United States had provided guarantees to the court.