It may be a decisive twist in a legal saga that has been going on for years: London’s High Court will hear on Monday a request to appeal to the Supreme Court against the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
If he refuses, he threatens to be extradited to the United States.
The United States accused the Australian of having released more than 700,000 classified documents about US military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2010. As a result, there are a lot of charges against him, and he faces a total of up to 175 years in prison. According to his supporters, the case constitutes a severe attack on press freedom.
At the beginning of last year, Judge Vanessa Baraitser had spoken out against the extradition of Assange. His mental health would not allow him to be extradited to the United States: Baraitser pointed out a real risk of the 50-year-old Australian attempting suicide. However, in December, Washington won a major victory when the British High Court overturned that refusal to extradite and ruled that the US had provided guarantees that met the judge’s objections.
Assange’s lawyers then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The High Court will hear that request today/Monday and decide whether to allow the appeal. They will make that decision at 10:45 a.m. local time (11:45 a.m. with us).
If the High Court denies the request, the Wikileaks founder will be running out of legal remedies. So his extradition request will be resubmitted to a British court with a recommendation that it be forwarded to British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will make the final decision.