A London court refused to extradite Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange to the United States on charges of violating the Espionage Act.
On Monday, January 4, Judge Vanessa Baraitser issued a decision in this regard. She did not allow Assange’s extradition to the United States because of fears that he might kill himself “faced with complete isolation.” The judge pointed out that the procedures proposed by the U.S. side would not help prevent such an outcome.
Washington is expected to appeal. At the same time, the court ruled that for the time necessary to do so, the founder of WikiLeaks should remain in prison, reports TASS.
Earlier, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, stated that the solitary confinement of Assange in a maximum security prison is disproportionate to the charges against him and is not a necessary measure. He pointed out that the journalist’s fragile health was at risk.
The U.S. Justice Department filed 17 charges against Assange in May 2019, later adding another. If extradited to the U.S., the WikiLeaks founder faced up to 175 years in prison. Current U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed that he is willing to pardon Assange if he names the source from whom he received the texts of emails from the hacked Democratic Party servers in 2016.
In 2012, fearing extradition to Sweden because of rape charges (the case was dropped in 2019), Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. There he stayed continuously for almost seven years.