The US Provides Assurances to the UK, Bringing Julian Assange Inches Closer to Extradition

The United States has provided assurances requested by the High Court in London that could bring it closer to extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain.

Last month, the High Court ruled that without certain US guarantees, Assange would be allowed to launch a new appeal against extradition. The US has now submitted these assurances by the Tuesday deadline, saying that in a US trial, Assange “will have the ability to raise and seek to rely upon at trial the rights and protections given under the First Amendment.”

The document also says a sentence of death will neither be sought nor imposed. However, it notes that the “applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the US courts.”

There will now be a further court hearing in London on May 20, but Assange’s lawyers have previously expressed skepticism about US assurances, describing them as not “worth the paper they’re written on.”

Assange’s wife, Stella, said the latest guarantees do not satisfy their concerns, describing them as “blatant weasel words” that do not relieve the “extreme distress” about her husband’s future.

Assange, an Australian citizen, has spent over 13 years fighting extradition since his initial arrest in 2010. He is wanted in the US on 18 charges, mostly under the Espionage Act, over WikiLeaks’ release of classified US military records and diplomatic cables.

While the US says Assange is not being prosecuted for the publication itself but for unlawfully obtaining the materials, his supporters view him as an anti-establishment hero persecuted for exposing US wrongdoing.

Last week, President Joe Biden said he was considering a request from Australia to drop the prosecution, which Assange’s lawyer described as “encouraging.” However, it remains unclear what influence Biden could have over the criminal case.

Information for this story was found via Reuters, the New York Times, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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