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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange's Extradition Hearing Ends, Decision In Coming Days

22.02.2024 01:57

Assange faces 175 year sentence in US if his extradition for publishing not denied.

The last attempt by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to avoid extradition to the US ended its second day of hearings on Wednesday at the UK High Court in London amid a heavy downpour.

As anticipated, the verdict will be delivered at a later time.

The justices will withhold their decision for now and will communicate with the involved parties if further information is required.

Assange faces a 175-year sentence in the US if his extradition is not denied.

The Australian publisher and his lawyers call the accusations against him politically motivated. They have hinted at a potential recourse to the European Court of Human Rights should the UK appeal fall short.

Assange did not attend the proceedings in person or via video link due to his ongoing health problems.

After the proceedings ended inside the court, supporters of Assange marched to 10 Downing Street, calling for his release.

US threatens to put Assange in 'deepest darkest hole'

Assange's wife, Stella, issued a statement outside 10 Downing Street.

"If he is extradited, he will lose his life. He will be killed. He will be killed by the country that has been plotting his assassination. And the court heard how the United States under the previous administration, which may be the next administration, had plotted to assassinate him."

"Shame on those who are afraid of the truth. That's not a society I want to live in. We're better than that.

"They've stuck him in the deepest, darkest hole of the UK prison system and the US is threatening to put him in the deepest darkest hole of the US prison system for 175 years," she added.

'It's time Julian Assange was brought home'

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has intensified calls for Assange's return to his country and for an end to the prolonged legal battle surrounding his extradition.

In a recent interview with public broadcaster ABC Radio, Albanese revealed that he has pursued the matter at the "highest levels" in both Washington and London.

"It's time Julian Assange was brought home," he asserted.

"I have put the view very clearly, privately, as I have publicly, that enough is enough. It's time Julian Assange was brought home. I've engaged with his legal team on a regular basis as well, on a strategy to try to get through this and come out the other side in Mr. Assange's interest," he said.

What happened?

Assange, who has been detained in a UK prison since 2019, faces extradition over allegations of leaking classified military documents in 2010-2011.

The UK High Court, in a pivotal 2021 ruling, decreed that Assange should be extradited, dismissing assertions over his fragile mental state and the risks he might face in a US correctional facility.

Following suit, the Supreme Court in 2022 upheld the decision, while then-Home Secretary Priti Patel affirmed the extradition order, intensifying the legal battle.

In his latest bid for a reprieve, Assange is seeking authorization to scrutinize Patel's determination and challenge the initial 2021 court verdict.

Should this recourse falter, Assange would have exhausted all available avenues for appeal within the UK legal system, triggering the extradition process. -

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