Advertisement

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wins legal victory in bid to avoid extradition to U.S.

1/4
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wins legal victory in bid to avoid extradition to U.S.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a prison van as he leaves a court in London, Britain, on May 1, 2019. He was arrested after his eviction from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he'd lived for about seven years. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange won a legal victory on Monday in his bid to avoid being sent to the United States to face espionage charges, as a top British court ruled that he can appeal extradition.

The High Court in London ruled that Assange, who's been in jail for almost three years, can appeal his extradition to the U.K. Supreme Court. However, the British high court must agree to accept the appeal, which it has not yet done.

Advertisement

Monday's ruling is a first-stage victory for the WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower in his effort to avoid being sent to the United States, where he faces charges related to classified military documents his website leaked with the help of former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 and 2011.

Assange lived for years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under political asylum, until it was revoked in April of 2019 -- at which point, U.S. prosecutors began efforts to have him extradited. File Photo by Bianca de Marchi/EPA-EFE

The classified materials related to the U.S. military's campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but she was released in 2017 after outgoing President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to seven years.

Advertisement

About a year ago, a British court rejected the U.S. extradition request for Assange on the grounds that he is likely to kill himself while in the United States' prison system. Last month, the High Court in London overturned the ruling after U.S. assurances that Assange would be treated humanely.

"The point of law certified is, 'in what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings," Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon wrote in Monday's ruling, according to the Evening Standard.

If convicted on all of the charges in the U.S. indictment, Assange could spend the rest of his life in prison.

RELATED U.S. to ask Britain's high court to extradite WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on spy charges

For years, Assange avoided extradition by living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under asylum. In April 2019, the embassy revoked his asylum after WikiLeaks reported on a story linking Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to corruption. He was arrested after he was evicted from the embassy.

Assange was not present in the court on Monday.

RELATED British judge blocks extradition of Julian Assange to U.S.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement