Britain Approves Extradition Order for Assange

LONDON — The British authorities accredited an extradition order on Friday for Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, confirming a court docket determination that he might be despatched to the US to face trial on espionage prices, although his authorized struggle in opposition to the choice is probably going not over.

Whereas the order is a blow for Mr. Assange, whose case is seen by rights teams as a possible problem to press freedom, he’s more likely to as soon as once more enchantment the choice in a British court docket, an avenue that authorized consultants say remains to be open.

A spokesperson for the Residence Workplace stated that “on 17 June, following consideration by each the Magistrates’ Court docket and Excessive Court docket, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the U.S. was ordered,” including that “Mr. Assange retains the traditional 14-day proper to enchantment.”

The Residence Workplace pointed to a British court docket ruling that didn’t discover “that it will be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of course of to extradite Mr. Assange.”

Moreover, the courts didn’t discover that extradition “could be incompatible together with his human rights, together with his proper to a good trial and to freedom of expression, and that while within the U.S. he will probably be handled appropriately, together with in relation to his well being.”

His protection crew has but to say what comes subsequent. The approval of the order by Priti Patel, the house secretary, is simply the newest flip in a protracted running-court battle and comes after a British court docket ordered Mr. Assange’s extradition in April.

In 2019, Mr. Assange was charged in the US beneath the Espionage Act in reference to acquiring and publishing categorized authorities paperwork concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on WikiLeaks in 2010. These information have been leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former army intelligence analyst, earlier than being printed by the positioning.

All through the extended authorized battle in opposition to his extradition, Mr. Assange has remained in custody at Belmarsh jail in London, the place he has been detained for practically three years. Mr. Assange married his accomplice Stella Moris in jail this 12 months.

He was arrested in London in 2019 after spending seven years holed up within the Ecuadorean Embassy in an effort to keep away from detention as he fought extradition to Sweden, the place he was needed for questioning in a rape inquiry. That case was later dropped.

Beneath present authorities pointers, Ms. Patel is barely capable of block extradition requests in a small variety of circumstances. That features instances regarding folks beforehand extradited or transferred to Britain from elsewhere, others involving folks dealing with the demise penalty, or those that is perhaps charged with additional, beforehand unannounced offenses after their transfers.

But when none of these points have been concerned, Ms. Patel would don’t have any cause to refuse an extradition request and be obliged to conform, in keeping with the Residence Workplace.

Nonetheless, Mr. Assange’s authorized crew will nonetheless be capable of apply to enchantment to Britain’s Excessive Court docket on each Ms. Patel’s determination and probably on plenty of different factors of concern concerning the U.S. request. The Excessive Court docket will then resolve which factors Mr. Assange could enchantment, if any. This course of might take a number of months.

As soon as he has exhausted his choices in British courts, Mr. Assange might additionally attempt to enchantment to the European Court docket of Human Rights, although it’s nonetheless unclear how a lot authority it will have over Britain’s determination after its departure from the European Union.

Rights teams have expressed worries that Mr. Assange’s extradition to the US might threaten press freedom, and when the court docket decided on his case, a number of organizations denounced the transfer.


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