The founder of WikiLeaks is claimed by American justice who wants to try him for the dissemination, from 2010, of more than 700,000 classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities.
The British government confirmed on Friday June 17 the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he is being prosecuted for a massive leak of confidential documents. “Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Minister of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds for barring the ordersaid a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
It’s a “dark dayfor his support, but not the end of the judicial soap opera: the British government announced on Friday that it had signed the decree for the extradition to the United States of the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who will appeal. The 50-year-old Australian is being prosecuted in the United States for a massive leak of confidential documents.
After a long legal standoff with twists and turns, British justice had formally given the green light on April 20 to his surrender to American justice, but it was up to British Interior Minister Priti Patel to sign an extradition decree. , which she did on Friday. A spokesperson for the Home Office justified this step by stressing that the extradition of Julian Assange was not “incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and freedom of expressionand that in the United States it would be “treated appropriately, including with regard to his or her health“.
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Press freedom organisations, including Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International, oppose the extradition, fearing that despite assurances from the US authorities, Julian Assange will be subjected to conditions of solitary confinement in prison which would aggravate a risk of suicide. For Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, the extradition of Julian Assange risks putting him “in great danger and would send a chilling message to journalists around the world“.
WikiLeaks denounced “a dark day for press freedomand announced that Julian Assange would appeal to the High Court. He has 14 days to do so. He is claimed by the American justice system which wants to judge him for the dissemination, from 2010, of more than 700,000 classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces 175 years in prison.
Julian Assange has been detained for three years in Belmarsh high security prison, near London, where he married Stella Moris in March. They have two baby boys, conceived when Julian Assange was living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The founder of WikiLeaks spent seven years in this embassy where he had taken refuge in 2012, while he was on bail.
He then feared extradition to the United States, or Sweden where he was the subject of rape proceedings since abandoned. He was finally arrested by British police in April 2019 and imprisoned. His wife, a South African lawyer in her 30s, had pleaded with Home Secretary Priti Patel to prevent his extradition, asking her to end what she sees as a “political affair“.
It’s ‘not the end of the fight’
“Anyone in this country who cares about free speech should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.“, she said in a statement Friday. “Julian did nothing wrong. He has committed no crime and is not a criminal. He is a journalist and publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job“, she continued.
Stella Assange and WikiLeaks pointed out that this “is not the end of the fight. This is just the start of a new legal battle“. If leave to appeal is granted, the hearing may not take place until early 2023, Kate Goold, a partner at Bindmans law firm and specialist in extradition cases, told the PA agency.
Even if the appeal is refused, the extradition could be delayed for health reasons if Julian Assange “is too ill, for example, if he is unable to fly“. Julian Assange”also has the ability to appeal the decision to extradite on human rights grounds if necessary to avoid genuine injusticeshe said. He could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a process likely to take several years.
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