SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Julian Assange to renew appeal after failed US extradition challenge

According to media reports, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has faced a setback in his recent endeavor to halt his extradition from Britain to the United States. Nevertheless, Stella Assange, Julian Assange’s partner, has indicated that there will be a hearing next week where he will challenge the decision on extradition.
In a tweet, Stella said a renewed appeal will be filed on Tuesday next week when the matter will then proceed to a public hearing before two new judges at the High Court.

“We remain optimistic that we will prevail and that Julian will not be extradited to the United States where he faces charges that could result in him spending the rest of his life in a maximum security prison for publishing true information that revealed war crimes committed by the US government,” she added.

The US authorities have filed 18 charges against Assange related to the disclosure of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks.

UK govt approved extradition
The British government has approved his extradition, and a judge at London’s High Court has determined that Assange has no legal basis to challenge this decision.
Assange’s wife remains hopeful that she will succeed in preventing his extradition to the US where he could face severe penalties for publishing information that exposed US government war crimes.

Julian Assange’s health concerns
Previously, in January 2021, a British judge ruled against Assange’s extradition due to concerns about his mental health and the risk of suicide if he were held in a high-security prison.

Nonetheless, this decision was overturned after an appeal by US authorities who offered assurances, which included the possibility of Assange’s transfer to Australia to serve any sentence.

However, this was severely criticised by Assange’s wife who called US assurances “grossly misleading” adding it is “a formula to keep Julian in prison effectively for the rest of his life”.

The extradition was officially approved by the former British interior minister Priti Patel in June last year.
WikiLeaks gained prominence in 2010 when it released a massive trove of classified files and diplomatic cables, marking the largest security breach of its kind in US military history.

International calls over Assange’s extradition
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier called on the US to seek a diplomatic resolution to Julian Assange’s ongoing incarceration and also expressed concerns over the health of the 51-year-old.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also called for Assange’s release. “It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,” Lula told media personnel in May.

“We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced wrongdoing. And the press doesn’t do anything in defence of this journalist. I can’t understand it,” he added.

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