Julian Assange Extradition Decision: What to Know

Julian Assange Extradition Decision: What to Know

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will find out on Tuesday whether the High Court in London will allow him to appeal against his extradition from Britain to the United States or if his British legal challenges have finally come to an end.

U.S. prosecutors are seeking to put Assange, 52, on trial on 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast troves of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables, with all bar one coming under the Espionage Act.

They argue the leaks imperilled the lives of their agents and there is no excuse for his criminality.

Assange’s many supporters hail him as an anti-establishment hero who is being persecuted, despite being a journalist, for exposing U.S. wrongdoing and committing alleged war crimes.

His legal battles in Britain began in 2010, and he subsequently spent seven years holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London before he was dragged out and jailed in 2019 for breaching bail conditions.

He has been held in a maximum-security jail in southeast London ever since, even getting married there.

Britain gave the go-ahead for his U.S. extradition in 2022, and he has since been trying to overturn that decision.

His first appeal attempt was refused last year, leading to a two-day hearing last month when his lawyers sought to reverse that judgment. His supporters say this represents his last chance to block his extradition in the English courts.

Two senior judges will hand down their ruling at 1030 GMT on Tuesday. If Assange wins, a full appeal hearing will be held to again consider his challenge.

If he loses, his last option would be an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

His wife Stella Assange has said it could be a life or death decision, saying her husband would not survive if he were sent to the United States.

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