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WikiLeaks Founder Granted Appeal Against Extradition Further Stretching Out Legal Battle

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted permission to appeal against extradition to the US on espionage charges, a London court ruled, May 20, 2024. This will likely further the already stretched legal battle. 

High Court Judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson unanimously ruled for Assange after his lawyers revealed that the U.S. government provided “blatantly inadequate” assurances “that he would have the same free speech protections as an American citizen if extradited from Britain.”

Assange, 52, has been indicted on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of classified U.S. documents that dates back 15 years ago, which exposed the country’s war crimes, primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Several supporters cheered outside court as news of the ruling broke from inside the Royal Courts of Justice. 

“As a family we are relieved but how long can this go on?” Asange’s wife, Stella said. “This case is shameful and it is taking an enormous toll on Julian.” 

The Australian computer genius has been behind bars in a British high-security prison for more than five years, after he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years. 

Assange was absent from court due to his health situation. 

American prosecutors claim that Assange encouraged, and even assisted, the U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published.

Assange’s lawyers have retorted by stating that he was a journalist who simply exposed US military crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. They fear that sending him to the US would “expose him to a politically motivated prosecution and risk a flagrant denial of justice.”

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