UK court allows extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to US


LONDON – A British appellate court Friday allowed the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US to face spying charges over publishing secret documents a decade ago.

The High Court in London has overturned a lower court ruling that found the Assange’s mental health was too fragile to bear the American criminal justice system.

The high court observed that the US had given assurance to treat the WikiLeaks founder humanely. It has also directed a lower court judge to send the American’s extradition request to the home secretary for review.

The final decision about the extradition of Assange, who is currently detained at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, will be made by the home secretary.

However, Julian Assange has a right to file an appeal against the verdict.

Earlier this year, a lower court turned down an American petition to extradite Assange to the US to face spying charges over espionage charges. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the request on health grounds.

Later, the US filed an appeal against the lower court’s ruling, stating that the accused has no history of serious and enduring mental illness and does not meet the threshold of being so ill that he cannot resist harming himself, international media reported.

US authorities have told British judges that if they permit the extradition of Assange, he could serve any US prison sentence he receives in his native Australia.

US prosecutors have indicted Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents. Under the charges, Assange could face prison of up to 175 years.

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