Court Orders Julian Assange's Extradition To US Where He Could Face 175 Year Prison Sentence
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Westminster Magistrates’ Court has issued an order for Julian Assange to be extradited to the US.
The WikiLeaks founder has always claimed his innocence over a series of espionage charges put to him.
The case will now go to Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval, however, it may yet get caught up in an appeal process at the High Court.
Mr Assange is wanted by the authorities in the States over allegations of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of over 400,000 documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The leaks were provided by former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Mr Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh prison, three years after he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
His wife Stella Assange, who he married last month, said his continued imprisonment is a 'criminal act'.
She told Press Association: "The UK Government could end Julian’s imprisonment at any time by obeying its treaty obligations.
"The US extradition request violates the US-UK extradition treaty Article 4, which prohibits extraditions for political offences.
"The UK Government can and should obey the word of the treaty and put an end to the extradition process once and for all.
"Julian’s incarceration and extradition process is an abuse in itself.
"He faces 175 years buried alive in a US hellhole for publishing true information in the public interest, exposing the crimes and killing of innocent people by the country that wants him to spend the rest of his life in prison.
"The UN special rapporteur on torture has found that Julian has been subjected to psychological torture.
"Senior US officials have reportedly confirmed White House and CIA plans to assassinate him on UK soil during the Trump administration.
"The UK is imprisoning a publisher on behalf of the foreign power who conspired to murder him.
"There is no way of concealing any more that Julian is the victim of a vicious political persecution."
Last year, the US government won its High Court bid to overturn a judge’s decision not to extradite Mr Assange.
US authorities brought a High Court challenge against a January ruling by then-district judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange should not be sent to the US, in which she cited a real and 'oppressive' risk of suicide.
After a two-day hearing in October, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, ruled in favour of the US.