U.S. Allowed to Appeal Decision Not to Extradite Julian Assange

The U.S. government was granted permission to appeal a London court decision that Julian Assange can’t be extradited on mental health grounds.

It’s allowed to challenge whether the Judge applied the law correctly, if she gave the U.S. sufficient advance notice of her decision and whether assurances given by the government mitigate Assange’s risk of suicide, according to a spokesman for Assange. A High Court official confirmed the permission to appeal and gave no further details.

Assange won’t be held in a supermax jail if extradited and will be allowed to serve prison time in Australia, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on where Assange might serve out his term if extradited.

A U.K. judge blocked Assange’s extradition in January, citing the risk of suicide in a U.S. jail. He remains in a British high-security prison as he’s considered a flight risk. Assange has spent the last decade either in a U.K. prison or in Ecuador’s embassy in London.

“Crucially, the High Court did not allow the U.S. to appeal any of the factual findings concerning Assange’s condition,” the spokesman said in a statement.

A lawyer for the U.S. and the Crown Prosecution Service didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Assange initially took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after he lost a U.K. Supreme Court appeal of his extradition to Sweden for questioning on rape allegations. While the Swedish case was later dropped, Assange was kicked out of the embassy in April 2019 and arrested for skipping his U.K. bail.

That same day, the U.S. announced it was charging him with espionage for his role in releasing hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents via WikiLeaks, with the help of U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

A hearing date for the appeal is yet to be scheduled.

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