Julian Assange's extradition delayed: US must assure no death penalty

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States has been temporarily halted. On Tuesday, London's High Court demanded that the US assure that Assange, facing trial on 18 counts primarily under the Espionage Act for the release of confidential US military and diplomatic documents, would not be subjected to the death penalty.

Publication: 26.03.2024 - 16:03
Julian Assange's extradition delayed: US must assure no death penalty
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In a significant moment in Assange's over 13-year legal struggle in English courts, his attorneys sought to contest the UK's approval of his extradition in February. The High Court, recognizing viable grounds for his appeal, highlighted concerns that Assange, as a non-US citizen, might not benefit from First Amendment protections and could potentially face capital charges in the future.

Highlighting the severity of his situation, the court referenced a 2010 statement by former US President Donald Trump suggesting the death penalty for WikiLeaks' activities. The judgment emphasized the weight of political calls for severe punishment against Assange, marking his case as notably contentious.

Should the US not provide satisfactory assurances by April 16, Assange will be allowed to appeal. A follow-up hearing is scheduled for May 20, postponing any immediate extradition plans.

Outside the court, Assange's wife, Stella Assange, celebrated the decision, urging the Biden administration to abandon the "shameful case." While the court sided with Assange on certain aspects, it denied an appeal based on claims of political motivation or potential unfair trial concerns.

Supporters view Assange as a crusader against establishment corruption, highlighting his role in unveiling US misconduct and alleged war crimes. The US, however, maintains that WikiLeaks' disclosures jeopardized agents' safety, arguing Assange's indictment stems from the reckless publication of sensitive information, not his political views.

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