Julian Assange Wins Key Legal Battle: London Court Grants Appeal Against US Extradition on Espionage Charges

In a major victory for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a London Court has granted him permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States on espionage charges. Assange has been in a U.K. prison for the last five years and also stayed inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years from 2012 to 2019.

Julian Assange Triumphs in Court, Granted Permission to Appeal US Extradition on Espionage Allegations

The permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States on espionage charges was given by High Court judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson. However, this does not mean that Assange’s woes are over, and the legal battle is likely to continue for some time.

Lawyers representing Julian Assange contended that the US had not provided adequate assurances that he would be covered by the First Amendment if extradited and would not face a death sentence.

The lawyers argued that the US has not given any assurance that Julian Assange, who is an Australian citizen, will enjoy rights as a journalist for publishing classified US information under the press protections provided by the US Constitution.

Assange’s family was worried that he could be extradited to the US as early as this week if the judges were satisfied with the assurances given by the US government regarding his trial conditions. However, now the case is expected to continue throughout the year and possibly longer.

Supporters of Julian Assange who were present outside the London High Court on Monday loudly cheered after this significant development in the legal battle against US efforts to extradite him from the UK to face espionage charges.

The judges had ruled that Assange could appeal against the extradition on three grounds:

  1. Assange be allowed to invoke the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects freedom of speech.
  2. He would not face prejudice at trial due to his nationality (Australian).
  3. The death penalty would not be imposed.

The judges allowed Assange to challenge his extradition and debated if the extradition conforms with the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights, something akin to the US First Amendment. It also considered the fact that he may be prejudiced and punished because he was a foreigner. The judges also ruled that there is a possibility that Assange could face discrimination because a US prosecutor had suggested that foreigners do not enjoy the benefits of the First Amendment in national security cases.

Somewhat similar sentiments were expressed by British barrister Edward Fitzgerald, representing Assange, who said that there are a number of issues with the US assurances since they do not negate the possibility of a US court ruling that Assange, as a foreigner, was not entitled to First Amendment rights.

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Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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