WikiLeaks’ founder files appeal with UK High Court against extradition to US

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (file photo)

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange has lodged an appeal with the United Kingdom’s High Court against his extradition to the United States, where he will face criminal charges.

On June 17, British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved 50-year-old Assange’s extradition, following a series of failed legal battles in the UK courts. She said at the time that British courts had reached the conclusion that his extradition would not violate his human rights, and that he would be treated appropriately.

However, an original British judge ruling issued earlier had warned that the Australian-born activist should not be deported due to risk of suicide. Furthermore, his lawyer had warned that he still remains a risk.

On Friday, Assange’s brother – Gabriel Shipton – said the WikiLeaks’ founder had appealed to the High Court in London to block his extradition, the latest move in his legal battle that has dragged on for more than a decade.

The High Court must give its approval for Assange’s appeal to be heard. However, it is likely the legal case will take months to conclude.

“We also urge the Australian government to intervene immediately in the case to end this nightmare,” Shipton said.

Since June 2019, Assange has been fighting extradition to the US and remains in prison.

Assange, who is wanted by US authorities on 18 counts, will be extradited within 28 days if his appeal is rejected by the High Court. His lawyers had previously said he could face a possible penalty of up to 175 years in prison if convicted in the United States.

Assange is mainly wanted by the US government for publishing about 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The most damning batch was The Iraqi War Logs, which represent the biggest military leak in the US history.

Washington claims releasing vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables has put lives in danger.

Since the beginning of his political activism, Assange has been praised as an anti-establishment hero who has exposed US wrongdoing in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. His supporters accuse the United States and Britain of victimizing him and denounce his prosecution as a politically motivated assault on journalism and free speech.

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