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WikiLeaks Co-Founder Julian Assange's Extradition Approved by Priti Patel

The case had reached the UK Home Secretary last month after a British judge ruled against Assange.

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UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved on Friday, 17 June, the extradition of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks co-founder, to the US.

The case reached her last month after a British judge ruled that there were no legal questions over the guarantees provided by American authorities over how he will be treated in the US.

An appeal by Assange's team is likely.

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The Background in Brief

The US government had asked British authorities to extradite Assange so he can be tried on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse.

In January 2021, a lower court had ruled that the extradition of Assange should not take place due to his mental health concerns.

This was based on the assumption that he would be, if extradited, held in a highly restrictive prison, and would thereby be suicidal there.

In December 2021, however, a London court overturned that judgment.

Prosecutors allege that Assange unlawfully helped an analyst named Chelsea Manning steal classified military and diplomatic files that were published by WikiLeaks, a website that Assange founded.

They also assert that the classified material that Assange leaked put lives in serious danger, thereby the insistence on his extradition.

He can be sentenced up to 175 years in jail if he gets convicted in the US.

You can read Nabanita Sircar's piece on why a victory for the US in the assange case "can be the death knell for press freedom."

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