By Matthew Roscoe • 20 April 2022 • 12:42
FOLLOWING a court hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, April 20, the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange now rests with Priti Patel after the court passed the approval of the order to the UK Home Secretary.
Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring issued the extradition order during a seven-minute hearing and it is now up to Ms Patel to approve the order.
Mr Goldspring said: “In layman’s terms, I am duty-bound to send your case to the Secretary of State for a decision.”
The 50-year-old is wanted in America on espionage charges after the Australian published hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006 has been in Belmarsh prison for three years following his ‘capture’ from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
If extradited, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison, according to his defence team, who argue that the ‘leaks’ were in the public best interest and that court cases against him are ‘politically motivated’.
Prior to the hearing on April 20, Judges ordered on December 10 that the Assange case must return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to formally send it to Home Secretary Priti Patel.
A crowd-funding campaign was launched to support the former editor’s case.
The campaign, which has so far received £207,866, said it was raising funds because “undertaking the next step in the legal process and defending Julian in the High Court will be expensive, even though Julian’s legal team continues to work for low remuneration and have contributed much of their time pro bono. We cannot do it alone and we need your support.”
As noted by the campaign, it was the former US President Donald Trump and his administration that charged Mr Assange under the Espionage Act “for exposing war crimes and human rights abuses in 2010 and 2011.”
It added: “The decision to indict him was a political act motivated by malice. Julian exposed the killing of unarmed civilians and the torture of innocent people.
“For that, the people who are driving this want to bury Julian in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system for the rest of his life. Julian faces a potential sentence of 175 years.”
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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