July 24, 2021
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UK Judge Refuses Extradition Of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To US

The US government said it will appeal the decision

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UK Judge Refuses Extradition Of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To US
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves in a prison van after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, for an administrative hearing in London.
AP/PTI File photo
UK Judge Refuses Extradition Of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To US
outlookindia.com
2021-01-04T17:34:38+05:30

A British judge has rejected the United States' request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying the move would be “oppressive” considering Assange’s mental health.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Monday Assange was likely to commit suicide if sent to the US. The US government said it would appeal the decision.

US prosecutors have indicted Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks publishing leaked military and diplomatic documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

Lawyers for the 49-year-old Australian argue that he was acting as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing leaked documents that exposed US military’s wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The judge rejected claims by the defence that Assange was protected by free-speech guarantees, saying his “conduct, if proved, would therefore amount to offenses in this jurisdiction that would not be protected by his right to freedom of speech.”

But she said Assange suffered from clinical depression that would be exacerbated by the isolation he would likely face in US.

The judge said Assange had the “intellect and determination” to circumvent any suicide prevention measures the authorities could take.


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