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Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder can be extradited to US to face espionage charges, court rules

His lawyers say they will seek to appeal, as Amnesty International says decision is a ‘travesty of justice’

Julian Assange could be extradited to the US, according to a high court, as he overturned the decision earlier this year and sparked criticism of media freedom advocates.

The decision seriously undermines the founder of WikiLeaks’ efforts to prevent his extradition to the US to face criminal charges, although his lawyers have announced they will seek to appeal the case.

The two top British judges found on Friday that the district judge at the time had supported his decision earlier this year at the risk of Assange’s incarceration in the harsh conditions of the U.S. prison.

In their decision, they sided with US authorities after guarantees were issued that Assange would not face such drastic measures unless he took action that required them to do so in the future.

Lord Burnett said: “That accident is in our judgment without any warranty. This follows the conviction that, if the affidavits were before a judge, he would have answered the question in a different way. ”

He added: “That conclusion is enough to clarify the request in favor of the USA.”

The judges ordered that the case be referred to the Westminster Magistrate’s Court with an order that the district administration submit a report to the secretary of state, who would decide whether Assange should be reinstated.

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée, described the high court ruling as “dangerous and incomprehensible” and “a gross violation of justice”.

“Today is International Human Rights Day, it is a disgrace. How funny it is to have this decision on this day, ”he said, speaking outside the Courts of Justice.

The case against the 49-year-old boy relates to WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghan and Iraqi wars, as well as communications cables, in 2010 and 2011.

The shocking decision was made by Amnesty International, which described the decision as “extremist.”

Nils Muižnieks, director of Amnesty International Europe, said: “By approving this decision, the high court has chosen to accept the US-based assurances that Assange will not be held in solitary confinement in the safest prison possible.”

Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders, said the decision meant a “dark time” for journalists around the world and called on the US government to drop the case.

The Supreme Court was told earlier this year that blocking Assange’s removal from the UK due to his mental health risk puts “refugees who are rewarded for their escape”.

James Lewis QC, of ​​the US, said the district judge was based on his decision “Assange’s mental capacity to avoid suicide prevention measures”, which put him at risk of becoming a “trumpet card” for anyone who wants to challenge his release.

U.S. guarantees included that Assange would not be subject to “special administrative measures” or be kept in a highly secure ADX facility and could apply, if convicted, to be transferred to an Australian prison.

U.S. guarantees have been described in the decision of Lord Burnett of Maldon, king of the judiciary, and Lord Justice Holroyde as “strong promises given to one government by another”.

Assange’s lawyers will be seeking permission to appeal to the high court over the issue of US guarantees.

But Nick Vamos, a colleague of Peters & Peters solicitors in London and a former head of the dismissal of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said it was unclear whether the high court would hear such an application as it relates to factual issues instead of points. of law.

He suggested that the war could end in a coup d’etat for Assange’s attorneys, which would take place first in the high court and focus on questions of freedom of speech and political reasons for the repatriation.

“It goes back to all those big questions, which they feel give a strong impression on the media and the community. But will it have power in court? The regional judge was not impressed and any argument that the US case was politically motivated or that Assange would not receive a fair trial immediately plunged into trouble with UK courts recognizing the US as having a fair and independent legal system. ”

Such appeals, and possibly a hearing before a higher court regarding the right to appeal, may well happen in the coming months, the European Court of Human Rights is still in its infancy.

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