WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will learn Monday whether he can appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court against a High Court ruling that he may be extradited to the United States.
On Dec 10, the High Court reversed an earlier ruling that extraditing the 50-year-old Australian to the US justice system would be “oppressive” due to his mental health and suicide risk.
The Wikileaks founder, charged with 18 counts relating to the release of 500,000 secret US files, will now decide whether he can appeal that decision to the UK Supreme Court on “points of law of general public importance”.
Assange is being sought by the US Justice Department for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified military documents related to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2010.
In the United States, he could face up to 175 years in prison, although it is difficult to determine the exact sentence.
A US lawyer argued at a two-day meeting in October that a lower court judge did not give enough weight to other expert testimony regarding Assange’s mental state.
Wikileaks founder face solitary confinement
In addition, they cited diplomatic assurances that Assange will not be held in punishing isolation at a federal supermax prison, and would receive proper care.
Two judges at the High Court in London accepted the new assurances, noting they are common in such cases and are “solemn undertakings offered by one government to another”.
In the event that Assange loses the case on Monday, it will be returned to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for Priti Patel’s final review.
In spite of having served a previous sentence for breaching bail conditions in a separate case, Assange is being held at London’s Belmarsh prison since 2019.
He lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years to avoid being sent to Sweden to answer for sexual assault allegations that were later dropped.
Over a thousand peace activists and anti-war groups signed a statement calling for his immediate release on Friday.
Stella Moris, his fiancee, said he had spent more time in Belmarsh than many prisoners sentenced for violent crimes.
Nathan Fuller, director of the Courage Foundation, said the Biden administration should confront its own hypocrisy while confronting foreign adversaries.
It is insulting to all those pushing for peace and human rights to jail Julian Assange for telling the truth about the US war crimes.