Assange Faces Final Court Hearing Over US Extradition

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is set to face what could be his final court hearing on Tuesday in his fight to avoid extradition to the U.S. on espionage charges related to the publication of classified documents related to public surveillance programs and a host of other interesting controversies.

The High Court in London will hear arguments this week as to whether the 52-year-old can ask an appeals court to block his transfer to the States to stand trial there, potentially the final chapter of a protracted legal attempt to remain in the U.K.

If the court rules in Assange’s favor he may still face extradition, but litigation in Britain would continue. If the High Court does not allow the appeal to go forward, he will likely be transferred to the U.S.

His wife, Stella Assange, with whom he has two sons and whom he married while in prison, said on X, formerly Twitter, that if her husband were extradited he would die in a U.S. prison cell.

Stella Assange told BBC that if her husband loses Tuesday’s High Court case in London, there’s no possibility for further appeal in this jurisdiction.

However, she did raise the possibility of applying to the European Court of Human Rights to try to secure an emergency injunction. She suggested that based on similar extradition cases there would only be a matter of 24 hours in which to make such a legal move.

Assange’s wife said that stress caused by the case had left her husband physically and mentally in a very difficult place knowing that anything could happen this week.

Assange, an Australian citizen, has been kept at London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019 as the U.S. extradition case proceeded. In 2021, the High Court ruled that he should be extradited, and rejected claims that poor mental health meant he was at risk of taking his own life in a U.S. jail.

The Supreme Court upheld that decision the following year and then Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the extradition order.

Australia’s parliament last week upheld a motion calling on the U.S. and U.K. to release Assange ahead of this week’s vital hearing.

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