UK judge to rule on US extradition for WikiLeaks Assange

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LONDON – #WikiLeaks founder #Julian #Assange will find out on #Monday whether he can be extradited from the UK to the US on charges of espionage for the publication of secret US military documents.
#District #Judge #Vanessa #Baraitser is due to deliver her decision at the #Old #Bailey courthouse in #London at 10 a.m. on #Monday. #If she accedes to the request, UK #Home #Secretary #Priti #Patel would make the final decision.

The losing side is expected to appeal, which could lead to more years of legal wrangling.

#However, it is possible that outside forces may come into play, which could instantly end the decade-long saga.

#Stella #Moris, #Assange’s partner and mother of his two sons, has called on US #President #Donald #Trump via #Twitter to grant #Assange a pardon before he leaves office on #January 20.

#And even if #Trump doesn’t, there is speculation that his successor, #Joe #Biden, could take a more lenient approach in #Assange’s extradition process.

U.S. prosecutors have charged #Assange, 49, with 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer abuse carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

#Lawyers acting on behalf of the US government said in oral argument after the four-week hearing in the fall that #Assange’s defense team had raised issues that were neither relevant nor admissible.

The defense continually calls on this court to find, or act on the basis of the submission, that the #United #States of #America is guilty of torture, war crimes, murder, violations of law. diplomatic and international and that the #United #States of #America is a lawless state, ”they said. “#These submissions are not only non-justiciable in these proceedings, but should never have been made.” The ##Assange defense team argued that he was entitled to #First #Amendment protections for the publication of leaked documents that exposed the misdeeds of the US military in #Iraq and #Afghanistan and that the US extradition request was politically motivated. #In their written submissions, the ##Assange legal team accused the #United #States of an “extraordinary, unprecedented and politicized” lawsuit that constitutes “a blatant denial of its right to free speech and poses a threat. fundamental for the freedom of the press in the world. #Defense attorneys also said that ##Assange suffers from widespread mental health issues, including suicidal tendencies, which could be exacerbated if placed in inhospitable prison conditions in the #United #States. said his mental health had deteriorated as he took asylum at the #Ecuadorian #Embassy in #London for years and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. #Assange waived his bail in 2012 when he applied for asylum at the embassy, ​​where he remained for seven years before being deported and arrested. #He has been held at ##Belmarsh #Prison in #London since #April 2019. #His legal team argued that ‘##Assange, if extradited, would likely be placed in solitary confinement which would put him at increased risk of suicide. They said if he was subsequently convicted he would likely be sent to the notorious prison ADX #Supermax in #Colorado, which is also habi #Tied by ##Unabomber #Ted #Kaczynski and #Mexican drug lord #Joaquin “##El #Chapo” #Guzman. #Lawyers for the US government have argued that ##Assange’s mental condition “is clearly not so bad as to prevent extradition.” #Assange has drawn the support of prominent figures including #Chinese dissident artist ##Ai #Weiwei and actress #Pamela #Anderson. #Daniel #Ellsberg, the famous #American whistleblower, also came out in favor, telling the audience that they had “very comparable political views.” The 89-year-old, widely credited with helping end the #Vietnam #War by leaking the ##Pentagon #Papers in 1971, said the #American public “urgently needed to know what was happening on a regular basis in their name, and there was no other way for them to find out than through unauthorized disclosure. “There are clear echoes between #Assange and #Ellsberg, who have leaked over 7,000 pages of documents classified to the press, including the #New #York #Times and the #Washington #Post. #Ellsberg was subsequently tried on 12 counts relating to violations of the espionage law, which carried 115 years in prison. The charges were dismissed in 1973 due to the government’s fault against him. #Assange and his legal team are hopeful that developments in the #United #States will put an end to his ordeal if the judge accepts the #American extradition request.

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