British court formally authorizes extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States
Although it is a purely formal process, it is also a next step towards extradition: A British court has issued the extradition order for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The decisive factor is what the British Home Secretary does now.
In the legal tug-of-war over Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, the Wikileaks founder’s extradition to the United States is one step closer. The Westminster Magistrates Court issued the formal extradition order in London. This will now go to British Home Secretary Priti Patel for a final decision. However, Assange’s lawyers have four weeks to present further grounds for objection. A further course in court is not excluded.
USA wants to put Julian Assange on trial
The US judiciary wants to put the 50-year-old on trial for allegations of espionage. He faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted. He is accused of having stolen and published secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan together with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, thereby endangering the lives of US informants. His supporters, on the other hand, see him as an investigative journalist who has brought war crimes to light and who is now to be made an example of.
The legal dispute over a possible extradition to the USA has been going on for around two years. The High Court gave the go-ahead. An appeal against this was dismissed by the highest British court, the Supreme Court, as inadmissible.
The organization Reporters Without Borders called for the release of the Wikileaks founder. “We are calling on the Home Secretary to act in accordance with Britain’s commitment to defending press freedom and to refuse extradition,” London representative Rebecca Vincent told DPA. Assange, who has been imprisoned for more than three years, must be released from prison immediately. The case of the 50-year-old had once again become a political decision.