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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal US extradition, UK court rules

The court’s ruling further delays the U.S. government’s efforts to extradite the Wikileaks founder, who faces charges under the Espionage Act.GETTY IMAGES

Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal his extradition to the U.S., where he faces charges under the Espionage Act, a British court ruled Monday, granting the WikiLeaks founder a legal lifeline in a case that has drawn scrutiny from global human rights and press freedom groups.


High Court judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson said assurances from the U.S., including protection against the death penalty and that Assange would have equal protection under the First Amendment like an American citizen, were insufficient, multiple outlets reported.

Assange, 52, was indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of computer misuse in 2019 for publishing a cache of classified U.S. documents on WikiLeaks a decade earlier.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, argued the assurances from American prosecutors were “blatantly inadequate,” as there was no guarantee a U.S. court would consider First Amendment protections for Assange, who is an Australian citizen, according to Reuters.

James Lewis, an attorney representing the United States, claimed Assange’s alleged acts were “simply unprotected” by the First Amendment.

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