WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange appeals against being extradited to the US



The legal team for Julian Assange submitted an appeal on Friday to prevent the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder to the US, where he is accused of spying and faces up to 175 years in jail.

WikiLeaks claims that Assange’s attorneys submitted “perfected grounds of appeal” against the US government and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who had authorized the Australian-born editor’s extradition in mid-June, before the UK High Court of Justice.

The appeal claims that the US government “misrepresented the key facts” of the case to the UK judiciary and that Julian Assange is “being tried and punished for his political ideas.” It further states that the extradition request for the co-founder of WikiLeaks is illegal under international law and the applicable US-UK treaty.

Additionally, the document is said to include some fresh information that has been gathered since the UK court’s decision on Assange’s extradition in early 2021.

“Overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that the US prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse,” the editor’s wife, Stella Assange, said. She added that the high court will now decide whether her husband is given the opportunity to argue his case against the US in open court at the appeal.

A day before the court action’s deadline was supposed to expire, the Wall Street Journal reported in early June that Assange’s attorneys had filed two appeals to prevent his extradition to the US. But it was unclear exactly how the appeal worked.

Since 2012, when Assange applied for refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he was charged with sexual assault but the allegations were later dropped, Assange has essentially been imprisoned. Assange’s refuge status was terminated by Ecuador in 2019, at which point the British police moved him from the embassy to the high-security Belmarsh Prison, where he has stayed ever since.

At first, a British judge rejected the US’ request to extradite Assange, citing concerns that he might suffer cruel treatment. Later, Washington was able to persuade the British justices to uphold the journalist’s rights. As a result, in the middle of June, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder to the US.

Since WikiLeaks published a large number of confidential papers in 2010, which allegedly showed US soldiers committing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Assange has been a target for the US. Since then, he has been charged with espionage in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act for allegedly plotting to breach Pentagon systems.

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