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Julian Assange Extradition Approved By UK Court

If convicted on all charges, Wikileaks founder faces more than 170 years in prison


The British government has approved the extradition of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he will face espionage charges.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the order on June 17. Assange has 14 days to appeal the decision, an action that Wikileaks said they will pursue.

“This is a dark day for Press freedom and for British democracy,” the statement said. “Anyone in this country who cares about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.”

The British government has approved the extradition of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he will face espionage charges.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the order on Jun 17. He has 14 days to appeal and Wikileaks released a statement saying they would appeal the decision.

“This is a dark day for Press freedom and for British democracy,” the statement said. “Anyone in this country who cares about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.”

A British judge approved the extradition in April, but left the final decision to the government.

Assange, 50, is wanted on criminal charges in the U.S. after Wikileaks published thousands of secret military documents and diplomatic cables related to U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The classified documents were provided to Wikileaks by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning), who was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

A federal grand jury indicted Assange, saying his actions resulted in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.” 

One of the most explosive revelations from Wikileaks was a video released in April 2010 showing U.S. soldiers launching a hail of gunfire from a helicopter, shooting and killing unarmed Iraqi civilians.

In Nov. 2010, an international arrest warrant was issued for Assange after he was accused of sexually assaulting one woman and raping another woman in Sweden. Assange has repeatedly denied the allegations. He also believed the allegations were meant to facilitate his extradition to the U.S. from Sweden.

Assange, who was working in London at the time, fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted asylum on the ground of political persecution. In 2019, Ecuador revoked his diplomatic asylum after the country accused him of “riding scooters around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff and smearing feces on the walls,” according to CNN.

“Make no mistake, this has always been a political case. Julian 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,” Wikileaks’ statement said. “Their revenge is to try to disappear him into the darkest recesses of their prison system for the rest of his life to deter others from holding governments to account.”

If convicted on all charges in the U.S., Assange would be facing at least 170 years in prison.

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