Home Tech WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the US, British court says

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the US, British court says

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WikiLeaks' Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the US, British court says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the United States, a British court has said.

Two London High Court judges today said Assange can officially challenge his extradition order from the United Kingdom in the long-running dispute over the leak and publication of military secrets.

After a two-hour hearing, at which Assange was not present due to health problems, the judges allowed Assange to appeal his extradition on freedom of speech and expression grounds. The decision, the latest in a years-long legal battle, follows a ruling by the U.K. High Court in May that called on the U.S. government to provide more “assurances” about the conditions Assange would face if he were extradited. In that case, the court said it needed further convincing that Assange would have free speech protection, that his Australian nationality would not prejudice him in any trial and that he would not then be sentenced to death.

The judges, Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson, have considered the arguments of both sides on the three issues and have decided to allow Assange to appeal the “assurances” about how his trial would be conducted and the foundations of the First Amendment. (Assange’s team did not question the US government’s assurances that he would not be given the death penalty.)

The decision to grant an appeal, which will be seen as a partial victory for Assange, means the long saga is likely to drag on for months to come.

Assange faces 18 charges in the United States, all but one under the Espionage Act, for publishing classified information related to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A conviction under the law would require prosecutors to prove that Assange not only obtained national defense information but disseminated it with the intent to harm the United States, a major hurdle for U.S. prosecutors in a case against an award-winning journalist.

Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison, although US prosecutors have publicly stated They hope that he will not serve more than five years.

Prosecutors in the United States allege that Assange, 52, exceeded his role as a journalist in online conversations with a source, Chelsea Manning, a former military intelligence analyst, by allegedly offering to help the 22-year-old private decrypt a hashed password. that could, hypothetically, have encouraged her illicit access to a classified Department of Defense network.

Manning was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of leaking supposedly classified footage of a US airstrike in Baghdad. The damning video, which became known as Collateral murder, showed a helicopter attack in which at least 12 civilians, including two Reuters journalists, were shot dead. (The Pentagon subsequently evaluated that the images were not, in fact, classified).

Manning, who spent more than a year and a half in pretrial detention, confessed in 2013 to having leaked more than 750,000 documents. One-third of the cache were diplomatic cables that, while described as highly damaging by the Obama administration, were largely just embarrassing for American diplomats, who wrote candidly about the behavior of foreign leaders in their reports at home.

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