Julian Assange faces decisive day in extradition battle

Assange's wife says he's under 'enormous pressure' as a ruling from the top court in the United Kingdom looms.

Julian Assange faces decisive day in extradition battle
AP Photo/Kin Cheung
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In a hearing on Monday, Britain's High Court will decide whether Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, has the right to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

His wife, Stella Assange, told BBC News that her husband is under "enormous pressure" as he awaits the ruling, which could see him on a plane to the U.S. within 24 hours if the court rules against him.

Assange, 52, has been fighting extradition from the U.K. for over a decade after his website published thousands of classified U.S. documents in 2010 and 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice described the leaks as "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States," and authorities say Assange endangered lives by failing to redact the names of intelligence operatives in the documents.

However, Assange's lawyers argue that the case against him is politically motivated and a form of "state retaliation." Stella Assange stated, "He exposed literally war crimes. This case is the revenge of that country against openness and accountability."

If the High Court rules in favor of the U.S., Assange will have exhausted all legal avenues in the U.K. His lawyers have indicated that they will seek an emergency injunction from the European Court of Human Rights as a last-ditch attempt to halt the extradition.

Supporters of Assange gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday morning, with one attendee, Kaylaa Sandwell, stating, "He needs to be freed because he hasn't done anything wrong. If he doesn't get freed, we won't have a free press anymore."

Despite the potential setback in the U.K. courts, Assange's supporters remain hopeful that U.S. President Joe Biden will consider a request from Australia to drop the prosecution and return the Wikileaks founder to his native country.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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