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World News May 20, 2024

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition judgment day

A British court is expected to deliver a final ruling on Monday regarding the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, a case that has spanned 13 years of legal battles and detentions. The decision hinges on whether the High Court in London accepts U.S. assurances that Assange, 52, would not face the death penalty and would be protected by the First Amendment during his trial for espionage.

Assange’s legal team indicates that outcomes could range from his immediate extradition to further legal delays or even his release from prison. His wife, Stella, expressed uncertainty but hopes he will be present in court for the hearing.

Assange faces U.S. charges for releasing classified military documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, including a 2007 video of a U.S. Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians, including Reuters journalists. His supporters argue the prosecution is an attack on journalism and free speech, with calls for his release from various human rights groups, media organizations, and political leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Assange has been detained at Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019. Despite initial mental health concerns leading to a blocked extradition, Britain approved his extradition in 2022, prompting ongoing appeals by Assange and his lawyers.

Source – CGTN

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