WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US to stand trial, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has rejected the US government’s request to extradite him on charges related to illegally obtaining and sharing classified material about national security.
Assange faces multiple criminal charges under America’s Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the extradition due to suicide risk for the impression he could suffer in the U.S. prison.
“That extradition should be refused because it would be unjust and oppressive by reason of Mr. Assange’s mental condition and the high risk of suicide pursuant to section 91 of the EA 2003;” said District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) Vanessa Baraitser In the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
“Taking account of all of the information available to him, he considered Mr Assange’s risk of suicide to be very high should extradition become imminent. This was a well-informed opinion carefully supported by evidence and explained over two detailed reports.”
Of course, the U.S. government will likely appeal the decision.
Wikileaks founder is currently facing extradition to the United States for his role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States. He published thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents on WikiLeaks in 2010.
For the first time, US DoJ charges an individual under the 102-year-old Act that persecutes the disclosure of national defense information that could be used against the United States.
According to the DoJ, the WikiLeaks founder conspired and tried to recruit Anonymous and LulzSec hacker to steal confidential and secret data on his behalf. In 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a NATO country and years later he contacted s LulzSec leader who was working for the FBI and provided him a list of targets.
The US authorities also accuse Assange of having conspired with Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password hash for an Army computer to access classified documents that were later published on the WikiLeaks website.
In April 2019, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Ecuador withdrew asylum after seven years.
In 2012 a British judge ruled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there, but Assange received political asylum from Ecuador and spent the last years in its London embassy.
In May 2019, the WikiLeaks founder has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012 and finding asylum into Ecuador’s London embassy for more than seven years.
A few weeks later, the United States Department of Justice charged Assange with 18 counts on the alleged violation of the Espionage Act.
Let’s close with the comment of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden:
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Julian Assange)