WikiLeaks Founder’s Extradition Ruling Set for 2021

A British judge will deliver a decision January 4 on whether to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face charges, including espionage.District Judge Vanessa Baraitser made the announcement at London’s Old Bailey Court after nearly four weeks of hearings.The U.S. has requested extradition of Australian-born Assange 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.A group of protesters gathered in front of the court in support of Assange.After the court adjourned, Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée and the mother of his two young children, called for his release.”Julian is a publisher,” she said. “Julian is also a son, he’s a friend. He’s my fiancé and a father. Our children need their father, Julian needs his freedom, and our democracy needs a free press. Thank you.”Kristinn Hrafnsson, a Wikileaks editor, said extradition would mean ”darkness for us all.””After all these four weeks, we should be in no doubt that there is only one thing that has to happen as an outcome of these proceedings,” Hrafnsson said. “If Julian Assange is extradited it will mean darkness for us all. It cannot happen. We must take a stand. There can only be one outcome: no extradition.”Assange’s lawyers, fighting the U.S. extradition request, say the charges were politically motivated and that his mental health is at risk, arguing that U.S. prison conditions breach Britain’s human rights laws, adding that Assange and his lawyers were surveilled while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.Lawyers representing the United States said that many of those arguments related to issues to be addressed in a trial and have no bearing on extradition.

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