Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wins right to appeal in UK Supreme Court against extradition to US
Assange faces 18 charges in connection with 5 lakh secret files on American military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won the right to appeal before the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court against his extradition to the United States, reported BBC.
Assange faces 18 charges in the United States in connection with 5 lakh secret files on American military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, released between 2010 and 2011. He is also accused of soliciting and publishing such information. He is currently lodged in London’s Belmarsh Prison.
In January last year, a criminal court had ruled that the Wikileaks founder cannot be extradited to the US. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser had said that extradition would be “oppressive by reason of mental harm”.
If detained, she said that Assange faced the “bleak prospect of severely restrictive detention conditions designed to remove physical contact and reduce social interaction and contact with the outside world to a bare minimum”.
She had added that the risk of Assange committing suicide was a substantial one.
However, in December, the High Court allowed Assange to be extradited to the US.
It said that the US government’s assurances were sufficient to guarantee that Assange would be treated humanely, overturning the lower court’s verdict.
“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the court said. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”
Assange has been in the Belmarsh Prison since April 2019, after he was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks founder was jailed after skipping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was facing a rape investigation. The rape charges were dropped in November 2019.
Assange suffers from a respiratory ailment that makes him vulnerable to contracting Covid-19. In November 2019, 60 doctors wrote to British Home Secretary Priti Patel saying that Assange’s health had deteriorated so much that he might die in prison.