(CTN News) – On June 17, the British government approved the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he is wanted on espionage charges. Earlier, a UK court overturned the ruling of Westminster Magistrate Court, which had halted the extradition order because of Assange’s mental state and conditions in the US prison.
The appellate court’s decision was to be challenged. According to the UK Supreme Court, Assange could not appeal against a lower court’s decision, raising his chances of extradition. A decision was made by the British government while Wikileaks’ founder still had some legal options.
Priti Patel signs extradition order
As of June 17, the UK’s Home Office confirmed that Priti Patel, the home secretary, had signed the extradition order for WikiLeaks’ founder. Julian Assange is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring to leak classified defense information about America’s Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
According to the US, he was ordered to be handed over to the authorities over criminal charges and 18 counts related to his media company’s release of sensitive, confidential, and classified US Army records and data on military operations, which the US says has impacted national security. It is a turning point in Assange’s years-long battle against being handed over to Washington that he has been extradited to the US. A 14-day appeal period remains.
In London’s High Court, Washington had won an appeal over Assange’s extradition. Despite ‘assurances’ offered by Washington about the media mogul’s safety, a judge ruled against the lower court verdict as he is suicidal and has deteriorating mental health. He had also suffered a stroke in the high-security Belmarsh Prison in the UK, which caused drooping of the right eyelid, memory lapses, and other neurological damage as he fought to avoid being extradited to the United States.
As part of Washington’s pledge, WikiLeaks’ founder would not be held in Colorado’s “ADX” maximum-security prison. After violating the conditions of his bail, Assange has been imprisoned in the UK prison since 2019. In 2019, WikiLeaks’ founder was arrested in Australia. He had lived in Ecuador’s embassy for nearly six years.
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