British high court rules Assange can be extradited to US to face espionage charges
A British high court ruled in a decision on Friday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face over a dozen espionage charges.
The ruling overturns a ruling by a judge in January that denied the U.S. extradition request due to Assange’s mental health.
The court decision relied on four assurances given by the United States, which originated in a diplomatic note from Feb. 5, 2021, according to a court filing.
Those assurances include that the U.S. would not implement “special administrative measures” against Assange before his trial or after a conviction, noting that it was subject to change “in the event that, after entry of this assurance, he was to commit any future act that met the test for the imposition of” those measures.
Other assurances include that he would be allowed to serve a sentence, if he was convicted of any crimes, in Australia; a promise that the U.S. would provide clinical and psychological treatment to Assange while being held in custody; and that he will not be kept at a maximum facility in Colorado during his pretrial.
“It is accordingly clear that” the diplomatic note “contains solemn undertakings, offered by one government to another, which will bind all officials and prosecutors who will deal with the relevant aspects of Mr Assange’s case now and in the future,” the court said in its ruling.
“We see no merit in the criticisms made of the individual assurances. The reality is that this court is being invited to reject the USA’s assurances either on the basis that they are not offered in good faith or that they are for some other reason not capable of being accepted at face value,” the ruling added.
The British high court said that the decision was being sent back to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which would then send the decision back to the U.K. secretary of State.
Assange’s fiancee called the decision a “grave miscarriage of justice,” according to a WikiLeaks Twitter post.
High Court decision “Grave miscarriage of justice,” says Julian Assange’s fiancée after a UK court overturned an earlier decision blocking the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States #FreeAssangeNOW #AssangeCase
Link: https://t.co/xD0NDaxhHJ pic.twitter.com/IE5WLsy8Ku
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 10, 2021
It is the latest development for Assange, who faces more than a dozen charges related to Espionage Act violations, according to The New York Times. Officials allege that classified military and diplomatic information had been obtained with the help of Assange.
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