US NEWS UK Judge approves WikiLeaks Julian founder Assange's extradition to...

UK Judge approves WikiLeaks Julian founder Assange’s extradition to United States

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A UK judge has formally approved Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, where he is set to be tried for spying under the Espionage Act.

District Judge Paul Goldspring issued the order Wednesday in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, bringing the years-long extradition battle one to step closer to an end. The case is now slated to go to Britain’s interior minister, Priti Patel, for final approval.

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Assange will be allowed to appeal the decision. He’s wanted in the United States on charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified documents back in 2010 and 2011. They primarily pertained to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which he argued exposed wrongdoing by the US.

Supporters and activists hold placards outside Westminster Magistrates court in London on April 20, 2022, calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently in custody pending an extradition request from the US, to be freed. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

If convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison. He has been behind bars at Belmarsh Prison since 2019, when he was dragged from Ecuadorian embassy in London after his asylum there was revoked.

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In January 2021, a magistrates’ court ruled against extraditing Assange, concluding that it would be “oppressive,” by reason of his mental health. The high court however, overturned that decision in December, after it received assurances from the US government about his treatment there. They include promises that Assange would not be made the subject of “special administrative measures,” nor would he be held at a maximum security prison at any point.

The order also comes after the UK Supreme Court last month refused Assange permission to appeal against a lower court’s ruling that he could be extradited.

With News Wire Services

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