Assange Lawyers Launch Last-Ditch Effort to Dodge U.S. Extradition

( – Julian Assange’s legal team filed their final appeal against the British order to extradite him to the U.S. to stand trial on charges of espionage for using Wikileaks to spill government secrets.

The Wikileaks founder has been locked up in a London prison for nearly five years and has been fighting America’s bid for extradition for over a decade. On Tuesday, February 20th, his attorneys made one last attempt to stop Assange from being transferred to the U.S. by appealing to two judges of the London High Court, Jeremy Johnson and Victoria Sharp, to grant their client another appeal hearing. The hearing would allow Assange to challenge the British government’s decision in 2022 to expedite him to America.

One of his attorneys, Ed Fitzgerald, told the judges that Assange could not attend Tuesday’s hearing because he wasn’t feeling well but did not give any additional details about the WikiLeaks founder’s health. The court said they were clear that Assange was invited to be there, either virtually or in person.

Stella Assange, wife of the WikiLeaks founder, was present at the hearing and demanded the UK release her husband. The two married in March 2022 at Belmarsh Prison, just a few months before the decision in June approving his extradition.

If the judge allows a fresh appeal, Assange would be allowed to go before the European Court of Human Rights and make his case to block the British government’s decision to extradite.

If Judges Sharp and Johnson reject the appeal, then it is likely Assange will be flown to the U.S. immediately to face 18 criminal charges for publishing classified material in 2010. He faces one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and 17 for espionage. He could face up to 10 years in U.S. prison for each espionage count and five for computer intrusion.

The judges could possibly take a few weeks to decide on a ruling but may also reach a decision as soon as the two-day hearing is over.

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