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UK Court Halts Julian Assange’s Extradition Until US Government Guarantees Not Giving Him the Death Penalty

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In a significant legal development, a British court ruled on Tuesday that Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the United States on espionage charges without assurances that he will not face the death penalty.

The ruling marks a partial victory for the WikiLeaks founder in his protracted legal battle against extradition.

Extradition Ruling and Conditions

Two High Court judges in Britain determined that Assange’s extradition cannot proceed unless U.S. authorities provide guarantees that he will not be subject to the death penalty and that he will be afforded the same First Amendment protections as a U.S. citizen.

The judges granted Assange a new appeal unless such assurances are provided within three weeks, prolonging the legal saga that has spanned over a decade.

The ruling ensures that Assange will remain in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, where he has been incarcerated for the past five years. Despite the partial victory, Assange’s legal team faces further challenges as the case continues, with a hearing scheduled for May 20 if the U.S. submits additional assurances.

Assange’s supporters maintain that he is a journalist protected by the First Amendment, who exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving the public interest. His wife, Stella Assange, denounced the case as persecution, emphasizing the human cost of war that Assange’s revelations brought to light.

Allegations and Counterarguments

Allegations surrounding Assange’s prosecution include claims that it is politically motivated and assertions that the CIA planned to harm him during his stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

However, the judges rejected these grounds for appeal, focusing instead on the threat to Assange’s freedom of speech and the risk of the death penalty.

Assange’s legal troubles began in 2010 with his arrest in London at the request of Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which were later dropped. His prolonged confinement and legal battles have taken a toll on his physical and mental health, sparking concerns from human rights experts.

Ongoing International Attention

The case has garnered international attention, with United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture Alice Jill Edwards expressing ongoing concerns about Assange’s mental health and potential mistreatment in U.S. custody. The extradition battle has drawn scrutiny to issues of press freedom, government transparency, and individual rights.

As Julian Assange’s extradition battle continues, the legal and ethical implications surrounding his case remain at the forefront of global discourse. The latest ruling offers Assange a glimmer of hope in his fight against extradition while underscoring the complexities and controversies surrounding his prosecution.

Image by Espen Moe on flickr

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Karishhma Mago is an entrepreneur, cryptocurrency expert, and personal branding consultant. She’s the founder & CEO of Facilius Inc. and Digital Nod, the premier digital PR agencies servicing global brands and influential public figures. With a penchant for entrepreneurship, brand building, social media, and cryptocurrency, she brings a wealth of expertise to her contributions to several esteemed publications. If not behind her laptop screen, you will find her reading her favorite books, traveling, or playing with her daughter.
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