Julian Assange Wins Right to Appeal Extradition to US

Julian Assange has won the right to appeal extradition to the U.S. from the U.K., where he has been jailed for the past five years, the British high court ruled Monday.

The ruling, reported by the BBC and other media outlets, means Assange can now fight the 18 charges against him – 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act – from overseas. His wife Stella and lawyers celebrated the ruling as a decisive victory in the long-running legal saga.

Assange, 52, was indicted following the publication of a trove of classified U.S. documents almost 15 years ago on Wikileaks. U.S. authorities accuse Assange of endangering American lives and military secrets.

The high court ruled in Assange’s favor Monday after his lawyers argued there were “blatantly inadequate” assurances from U.S. authorities that the Australian-born Wikileaks publisher would have the same free-speech protections as an American citizen in domestic courts, the Associated Press reported.

The AP said hundreds of supporters cheered outside the Royal Courts of Justice as the ruling was announced. Stella Assange said American authorities should “read the situation” and drop their case.

The White House has indicated that President Biden is considering a request from Australia to drop the case so he can return to his home country. He did not attend Monday’s hearing for health reasons, and his family has said his many years in exile and captivity are taking a toll on his mind and body.

Assange has spent the past five years in a British high-security prison, and spent seven years before that at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

More to come …

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