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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange: court negotiates extradition to the USA

After new revelations in the Julian Assange case, the legal dispute over a possible extradition of the Wikileaks founder to the USA is entering a new round. At the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday (10.30 a.m. local time / 11.30 a.m. CEST), the appeal proceedings in which the US will challenge the previous decision of the British judiciary and continue to fight for the extradition of Assange is due to begin.

The US judiciary wants to bring the 50-year-old Australian to trial on allegations of espionage. He faces up to 175 years in prison in the United States. A judge in London had rejected the extradition request in January with regard to Assange’s compromised mental health and the expected prison conditions in the United States.

Assange is accused of stealing and publishing secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. He put US informants in danger. His supporters see him as an investigative journalist who brought war crimes to light.

After reports of possible plans by the US secret services to attack Julian Assange, his supporters hope for a U-turn in the legal dispute. “This is a turning point,” Assange’s fiancée, Stella Moris, said before the hearing with journalists in London. “It shows the true nature and criminality of the US action against Julian.”

A few weeks ago, investigative journalists, citing unnamed US sources, reported that the US foreign intelligence service CIA had forged plans to attack Assange while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. “The question is, can Britain extradite someone to a country that wanted to kill them?” Said Moris.

The trial is set to continue on Thursday, but a quick decision is not expected. Assange has been in London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison for more than two years. His health and mental health are very bad, said Moris. She is convinced: “Julian would not survive extradition.”

Amnesty International again called for the detained Wikileaks founder to be released. The US judiciary must drop its allegations against the Australian and the British authorities must release him immediately, the human rights organization said.

The organization Reporters Without Borders also called on US President Joe Biden to stop the proceedings. The US wanted to stand up for human rights on the world stage again, said the organization’s London representative, Rebecca Vincent. “But this will always be a big thorn in the flesh. It has to stop.”


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