Julian Assange could soon be extradited back to the U.S. to face espionage charges

News & Politics

Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange could be on the cusp of extradition to the U.S. over the mass leak of secret government documents. A British court is prepared to make a final decision on Monday, according to the New York Post.

The development will finally bring an end to 13 years of legal battles and detentions. The whistleblower spent seven years in self-exile within the Ecuadorian embassy in London. But he has been in a high-security prison in London since 2019.

‘Julian has been indicted for receiving, possessing and communicating information to the public of evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. government.’

There are two judges at the High Court in London who are set to make a final decision whether Assange will be sent to the U.S. to face penalties. The court must decide if it is satisfied with the U.S. assuring that Assange, 52, will not face the death penalty if he is sent over the Atlantic.

Assange’s legal team has said there are three possible outcomes of the verdict on Monday. He could be extradited to the U.S., released completely from jail, or spend additional time in legal battles over the next few months, according to the report.

The Wikileaks founder faces 17 counts of espionage and a single charge of computer misuse. If he is convicted, he could face a prison term of up to 175 years in prison, but American authorities have suggested that the sentence would likely be much less, according to a second report.

Those who support Assange say he acted as a journalist to uncover and expose U.S. military crimes and is protected under press freedoms ensured by the First Amendment.

Among the many files released by Wikileaks was a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter piloted by Americans in Baghdad that killed 11 people. Two of those killed were Reuters journalists.

“Julian has been indicted for receiving, possessing and communicating information to the public of evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. government,” Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, said.

“Reporting a crime is never a crime.”

Despite the revelations, U.S. lawyers have said Assange is guilty of attempting to hack into a Pentagon computer, and that Wikileaks’ publications of American military activities presented a “grave and imminent risk” to U.S. intelligence sources in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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