U.S. Wins Appeal Seeking WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’s Extradition Over Spying Charges

U.S. Wins Appeal Seeking WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’s Extradition Over Spying Charges

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

A British appellate court has opened the door for Julian Assange to be sent to the United States by overturning a lower court ruling against the extradition.

Friday’s ruling is likely to be appealed.

A lower court judge earlier this year refused an American request to extradite Assange to face spying charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret military documents a decade ago. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied extradition on health grounds, saying Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions.

In appealing that decision at the High Court in London, an attorney for the U.S. government denied that Assange’s mental health was too fragile to withstand the U.S. judicial system. Lawyer James Lewis said Assange “has no history of serious and enduring mental illness” and doesn’t meet the threshold of being so ill that he can’t resist harming himself.

U.S. authorities have also told British judges that if the judges agree to let Assange be extradited, he could serve any U.S. prison sentence he receives in his native Australia.

U.S. prosecutors indicted Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison, although Lewis said: “the longest sentence ever imposed for this offense is 63 months.”

Assange, 50, is being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison.

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