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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to be Extradited to US

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Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks, has been allowed to be extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States.

 

The judge of the Westminster Magistrate’s Court has approved the extradition warrant, with only Home Secretary Priti Patel yet to sign the warrant. Assange’s lawyers can still appeal the decision to Patel. They have until May 18 to do so.

Assange is suspected in the US of leaking classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, he would have been responsible for the deaths of informants from the American armed forces, among other things. As a result, he could face 175 years in prison in the US.

Outside the court, dozens of people had gathered to show their support for Assange and to demonstrate against deportation.

Assange, 50, has been trying to avoid a trial in the US for years. He was accused of rape by two women in Sweden in 2010, four years after WikiLeaks was founded. Assange was arrested in London on that basis. He was released on bail and fled to Ecuador’s embassy in the British capital, fearing he would be deported to the US via Sweden.

He stayed there for nine years until he had to leave. In 2019, Sweden stopped the prosecution of Assange. However, he was still arrested in London because the US requested it. He also had to serve a prison sentence for violating the terms of his bail.

In December 2021, a British court ruled that Assange may be extradited in an appeal brought by the US. The extradition was made possible because the US promised not to put Assange in a maximum-security prison and that he could serve a possible sentence in Australia. Before that, another British judge had ruled that Assange could not be extradited because of health complaints and the inhumane situation he could end up in an American prison.

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