WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to the United States to face charges of spying, the British government announced on Friday. This is a significant development in the legal battle that has been going on for the past ten years as a result of his website’s publication of classified documents from the United States. However, this does not mark the end of the conflict.
WikiLeaks has said that it would contest the ruling, and the time limit for Assange’s legal team to file an appeal is now fourteen days.
Stella Assange, who is married to Julian Assange, said that their situation was not hopeless.
Julian Assange has spent years fighting extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on 18 counts of espionage and one count of computer abuse. His case has been heard in British courts.
Prosecutors in the United States allege that an Australian person provided assistance to a U.S. Army intelligence analyst named Chelsea Manning in her theft of sensitive diplomatic cables and military papers, which were subsequently released by WikiLeaks and placed people’s lives in danger.
Assange, who is 50 years old, is known as a journalist who has broken taboos and revealed misbehaviour by the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan. His fans hold this reputation in high regard.
In April, a judge in the United Kingdom declared that Julian Assange might be extradited to the United States to face charges there, and the matter is now before the government of the United Kingdom for a decision. On Friday, Priti Patel, who serves as the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom, signed an order that gives permission for Julian Assange to be extradited.
In a statement, the Home Office said that the government had little choice but to give its blessing to Julian Assange’s departure to the United States because “the U.K. courts have not decided that it would be oppressive, unfair, or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
The statement was made by Assange’s attorney in the United States, Barry Pollack, who called it “disappointing news that should alarm everybody who cares about the First Amendment and the freedom to publish.”
The attorneys for Assange have said that they intend to launch a fresh legal challenge, and those knowledgeable in the law have speculated that it may take many more months, or possibly years, to get a verdict in the case.
According to statements made by Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson, “We will challenge this all the way, if necessary to the European Court of Human Rights.”
Robinson said that the accusations taken against Assange under Donald Trump’s administration presented a “severe danger” to the right to free expression, therefore she petitioned President Joe Biden of the United States to withdraw the charges against Assange.
During a news appearance held in front of the British Consulate in New York City, Assange’s father, John Shipton, also pleaded with the United States to dismiss the charges against his son.
Of order for these accusations to be dropped, all that has to happen is for Attorney General Merrick Garland to give the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom a quick call. That’s all that will be required. “It’s not that difficult,” was his response.
Assange’s defenders and attorneys insist that he was carrying out his duties as a journalist and that he is thus entitled to the protections of freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment. They contend that the matter is being pursued for political reasons, that he would be subjected to cruel treatment in the United States, and that he would not be able to get a fair trial there.
Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said that the British government’s “complicity in the political persecution of a journalist simply for revealing uncomfortable truths to the public is appalling, wrong, and shames our country.” Carlo said this because the government’s actions “shame our country.”
The judgement made by the United Kingdom was “a horrible day for press freedom and for British democracy,” according to Stella Assange, a lawyer who married her husband in a prison wedding in March.
She said that Julian had not committed any wrongdoing. “He is not a criminal and has not undertaken any illegal acts. Because of the work that he does as a journalist and publisher, he is now facing retaliation.
A legal dispute that lasted all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ultimately resulted in Friday’s ruling.
Assange’s original plea for extradition was initially denied by a judge in a district court in the United Kingdom on the grounds that the severe circumstances in which he would be imprisoned in a jail in the United States would increase his risk of committing suicide. Later on, the authorities in the United States gave the founder of WikiLeaks guarantees that he would not be subjected to the harsh punishment that his attorneys said would put his bodily and mental health in jeopardy.
Because of these guarantees, the judgement from the lower court was reversed by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of Britain.
Journalism organisations as well as human rights organisations have urged the United Kingdom to reject the extradition request. If Assange is found guilty in the United States, according to his attorneys, he could spend up to 175 years in prison; however, American officials have said that any term is likely to be significantly shorter than that estimate.