British Judge Rejects US Extradition Request for WikiLeaks Founder

A British judge rejected the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face charges, including espionage. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Monday at London’s Old Bailey Court that Assange was likely to commit suicide if sent to the U.S.The judge also ordered him discharged.The U.S. government lawyers said they would appeal the decision. The U.S. had requested extradition of Australian-born Assange. 49, on 17 espionage charges and one charge of misusing computers in connection with WikiLeaks’ 2010 and 2011 publication of thousands of confidential U.S. cables, mainly relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.Those charges would carry life in prison for Assange, since altogether they amount to 175 years behind bars.   Assange’s lawyers, fighting the U.S. extradition request, had been arguing the charges were politically motivated and that his mental health was at risk, arguing that U.S. prison conditions breach Britain’s human rights laws. Judge Baraitser accepted that argument.Assange’s supporters and others gathered outside the Old Bailey Court celebrated the decision as a victory for human rights, freedom of expression, and for Assange himself. 

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