Julian Assange faces espionage charges in a US court after the UK approved his extradition order on Friday.
The green light for Assange’s extradition comes after the UK’s highest court last month rejected its appeal against the move. The London Supreme Court ruled that there were no legal questions about how the notorious whistleblower was being treated by American authorities.
Assange’s legal team now has 14 days to appeal the decision after the extradition order was signed by Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary.
If the appeal fails, Assange will be flown to the United States to face what is likely to be one of the most sensational trials in recent memory. American authorities have wanted to prosecute the Australian editor since his 2010 publication of record-breaking military leaks provided by whistleblower Chelsea Manning about misconduct by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Washington has long argued that the blizzard is endangering Leck’s life.
“Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Foreign Secretary must sign an extradition order where there is no reason to prohibit the order,” said a UK Home Office spokesman. “Extradition requests will only be sent to the Home Secretary if a judge, after considering various aspects of the case, decides he can proceed.
“On June 17, after review by the Magistrates Court and the High Court, the extradition of Mr Julian Assange to the United States was ordered. Mr Assange retains the normal 14-day right of appeal. In this case, the UK courts have not found that extraditing Mr Assange would be oppressive, unfair or an abuse of process.
“Nor have they determined that extradition would be inconsistent with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, and that he will be treated appropriately while in the United States, including with regard to his health.”
Assange spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after breaking bail to avoid a separate extradition order to Sweden, where he was charged with sexual assault. Sweden’s charges were dropped in 2019 – the same year Ecuador stripped Assange of asylum after a series of disputes. Assange was arrested by British police on leaving the embassy in April 2019 for breaching his bail order. He spent the last three years in Belmarsh maximum security prison, where he married lawyer Stella Morris in March.
“We will fight against it. We will use any avenue of appeal,” Stella told reporters on Friday, adding that the decision was a “first leg.” “I will spend every waking hour fighting for Julian until he is free, until justice is done.”
WikiLeaks vowed to appeal the latest decision, which could see Assange face a 175-year prison sentence. “This is a dark day for press freedom and British democracy,” WikiLeaks said in a statement released on Twitter. “Someone inside [the U.K.] Those who care about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has authorized the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination,” the statement continued, referencing a story from Yahoo News last year alleging that the CIA had discussed plans to kidnap or kill Assange in London in 2017.
“Make no mistake, this has always been a political case,” added a WikiLeaks spokesman. “Julian has published evidence that the country trying to extradite him committed war crimes and covered them up; tortured and rendered; bribed foreign officials; and corrupted judicial inquiries into US wrongdoing. Their revenge is to have him disappeared into the darkest corners of their prison system for the rest of his life to prevent others from holding governments to account.”
“Extraditing Julian Assange to the US would put him at great risk and send a chilling message to journalists around the world,” said Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard in response to the UK’s decision. “If extradition continues, Amnesty International is extremely concerned that Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, in violation of the prohibition on torture or other ill-treatment. US diplomatic assurances that Assange will not be held in solitary confinement cannot be taken at face value given the history.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/julian-assange-set-to-face-espionage-charges-in-us-after-uk-approves-extradition?source=articles&via=rss Julian Assange faces espionage charges in US after UK agrees to extradition