On Friday, June 17, the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Priti Patel approved the extradition of Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange to the United States, where he potentially faces a 175-year sentence under the draconian Espionage Act.
Assange has been accused of 18 charges in the US, of which 17 are associated with espionage. He has been accused of publishing on WikiLeaks large amounts of confidential US military documents and diplomatic cables which, according to the US, have put lives at risk. However, the US authorities have not been able to provide evidence of a single US personnel being put at life risk because of the leaks by the organization. Instead, the material published by Wikileaks has evidenced human rights violations and war crimes committed by the US.
BREAKING: UK Home Secretary approves extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the US where he would face a 175 year sentence – A dark day for Press freedom and for British democracy
The decision will be appealedhttps://t.co/m1bX8STSr8 pic.twitter.com/5nWlxnWqO7
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 17, 2022
The British Home Office declared in a statement on Twitter that: “following consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange has been ordered.”
NEW: Following consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange has been ordered.
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) June 17, 2022
However, numerous journalists, human rights activists, legal experts and organizations have pointed out that Assange is being punished for bringing to light US crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan and Iraq which have exposed the interventionist and authoritarian character of the US around the world. His extradition is a politically motivated attack on journalism and freedom of expression which serves as a warning and a threat to anyone seeking to expose the US empire.
What a shameful day.
Julian Assange is being threatened with 175 years in US prison for his work, and the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel just approved his extradition.
— Richard Medhurst (@richimedhurst) June 17, 2022
Patel’s decision does not mean that this is the end of the legal battle for Assange, who has been litigating against the extradition for more than a decade now.
Assange can present an appeal to the High Court in London, which is the instance that must give its approval for the extradition to go ahead. Ultimately, the case can be taken to the UK Supreme Court. If the appeal finally gets rejected there, Assange must be extradited within 28 days.
Wikileaks has informed that Assange’s legal team is preparing an appeal against the extradition. According to human rights activist and former British diplomat Craig Murray, the new legal procedure that Assange can now start may take at least one year to get completed.
(RedRadioVE) by Victoria Torres, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune