United Kingdom not allowed to extradite WikiLeaks founder Assange to US

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A British judge has ruled that the United Kingdom cannot extradite Julian Assange to the United States. The conditions in the American prison combined with Assange’s mental health would stand in the way of extradition.

The British judge considered evidence from medical experts that Assange was depressed during his stay in London prison. “The overall impression is that of a depressed and sometimes desperate man who is genuinely depressed about his future,” the judge said, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.

His mental condition is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States, the verdict said. She also included in that judgment that Assange would be placed in isolation in a high-security prison in the US, under conditions that would not prevent him from killing himself.

She brushed aside previous arguments from Assange’s defense. The WikiLeaks founder’s lawyers argued that he would be extradited on political grounds and that he would not receive a fair trial with proper safeguards. The judge did not agree.

The lawyer of the American authorities is appealing the verdict. The US wants to extradite the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks for alleged computer intrusion into a US state computer and violations of US espionage law. He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison on the basis of the allegations. The Americans blame Assange for helping then defense analyst Chelsea Manning, who supplied files to WikiLeaks. The site published this. Manning himself was sentenced to 35 years for espionage, theft and computer fraud, but was pardoned in 2017.

Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 under a Swedish arrest warrant on suspicion of rape. He feared being extradited to the US via Sweden and entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 for political asylum. Last year Ecuador withdrew its political asylum, after which Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for violating the terms of his bail.

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