Home News Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing: What to expect?

Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing: What to expect?


A British court will make a final decision after a hearing on Monday on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the right to appeal an extradition order from the United States, where he faces Espionage Act charges.

Assange has been held in a London prison since 2019, charged by the United States with breaking the law by obtaining and publishing classified government documents on WikiLeaks in 2010.

Since his extradition, his case has been slowly working its way through the courts. Already ordered In April 2022, a London court approved the bill.The bill was approved by then-UK Home Secretary Priti Patel Extradition Two months later.

In February, the High Court heard Mr Assange’s final application for appeal, and in March a judge asked US authorities Provide specific guarantees regarding their treatment following extradition.

After Monday’s hearing, the court will decide whether those guarantees – Mr. Assange will not face the death penalty or be persecuted because of his nationality, and he can seek First Amendment protections like a U.S. citizen – satisfactorily, and whether Mr. Assange can appeal his extradition.

While the timing of the verdict is unclear, it could come as early as Monday afternoon after the hearing concludes. Here are the possible outcomes:

At a news conference last week, members of Assange’s legal team and his wife said that if the court rules that he cannot appeal, he could be put on a plane to the United States within 24 hours, which could end his A years-long struggle.

But Assange’s legal team has vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, to challenge his extradition. As a member and signatory of the court, the UK must abide by the court’s judgments. European Convention on Human Rights. If challenged in court, his extradition could be suspended until the case is heard in Strasbourg.

If the European Court of Human Rights does not intervene, Mr Assange could be extradited to the United States to face charges including 17 counts of violating the Espionage Actfor his role in obtaining and releasing secret military and diplomatic documents, as well as federal charges of conspiring to hack into Pentagon computer networks.

He could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted on the charges, which they say are politically motivated, according to his lawyers. But U.S. government lawyers said the leaks would put lives at risk and said Assange was more likely to receive a shorter prison term of four to six years.

In its March ruling, the court rejected six of Assange’s appeals on nine grounds, saying they had “no merit.” But they said Mr Assange had “a arguable ground” on the remaining three grounds of appeal: that in the United States he could face the death penalty, be persecuted because of his nationality or be denied First Amendment protections.

If the court finds that the guarantees provided by the United States on these three issues are insufficient, it could continue the appeal, which could open the door to a new decision on his extradition.

That means the legal case, which has captured world attention and mobilized press freedom defenders, will continue to be contested and Assange’s deportation to the United States will at least be delayed.

Assange’s legal team said last week they were continuing to push for a political solution to his extradition in the hope he would eventually be allowed to return to his native Australia.

Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson said the team was working closely with the Australian Prime Minister and Attorney-General to “try to find a resolution to this case”.

“This issue can be resolved at any time when the United States makes the decision, which we believe is the right decision, to drop the case and drop the prosecution that has been universally condemned by free speech groups,” she said.

last month, President Biden said the government was considering a request from Australia to allow Mr Assange to return there, prompting Speculation the U.S. may reconsider his case. The Justice Department declined to comment at the time.

Assange’s team has suggested that the judge could also exercise judicial discretion and decide to dismiss the extradition case entirely, but there is no sign that this is on the table.

“I have a feeling that anything could happen at this stage,” said Stella Assange, Mr Assange’s wife.

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