Westminster Magistrates Court in the United Kingdom has approved the extradition of Julian Assange, the journalist and Wikileaks founder who has been held in a high-security prison since 2018 on charges under the United States Espionage Act.
The UK home secretary, Priti Patel, will make the final decision about whether Assange will be sent to the United States. Although she is not expected to go against the ruling, Assange’s lawyer said he would be making ‘serious submissions’ about the case regarding the specifics of US sentencing and the conditions and treatment Assange is likely to face if extradited.
Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Quinn McKew said:
“The UK government should not support the US’ pursuit of those who expose serious human rights violations and crimes.
ARTICLE 19 reiterates our opposition to the espionage charges the US government is pursuing against Mr. Assange and calls on the home secretary Priti Patel to reject calls for his extradition.”
Assange was previously denied permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States in March following a ruling by the UK Supreme Court, upholding a high court ruling issued on 10 December 2021.
Assange has the right to appeal, and Assange’s legal team will likely initiate proceedings against the UK at the European Court of Human Rights.
The case against Assange undermines commitments taken by both the UK and US to promote global media freedom, constituting an attack on the values of both democracies, and sending a message to authoritarian leaders that prosecuting journalists on dubious national security grounds is acceptable.