The British government approved Friday the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the U.S., where he is wanted on charges under the Espionage Act. He has 14 days to appeal and WikiLeaks said it would challenge the decision.
Assange, 50, and an Australian national, is wanted in the U.S. on 18 criminal charges after WikiLeaks in 2009 and 2010 published thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The extradition order, signed by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, came after a long legal battle that went all the way up to the country’s Supreme Court. Assange’s lawyers argued that he is at risk of suicide if held in a maximum security prison in the U.S., but the British courts accepted U.S. assurances over Assange’s treatment.
“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange,” the British Home Office said in a statement. “Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”
Press freedom and human rights groups have condemned the decision, arguing that Assange is at risk of torture and is being silenced for public service journalism.
Here, what to know about the story so far:
Who is Julian Assange and what is his website, WikiLeaks?
Cyber activist Assange launched the non-profit, WikiLeaks in 2006, with the aim of exposing state secrets in the public interest. In 2010, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning provided WikiLeaks with more than 700,000 highly classified documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The documents included evidence of …read more
Source:: Time – World