Julian Assange Extradition Appeal Decision: What Could Happen?

Two British judges are set to decide on Tuesday whether Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, will be granted the right to appeal an extradition order to the United States, where he is facing charges under the Espionage Act.

Mr. Assange has been held in a London prison since 2019, accused by the United States of violations in connection with the obtaining and publishing of classified government documents on WikiLeaks in 2010.

In April 2022, a London court ordered his extradition to the United States. Priti Patel, Britain’s home secretary at the time, approved the extradition. Last month, two High Court judges heard Mr. Assange’s final bid for an appeal. The judges are expected to hand down a written decision at 10:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. Eastern) on Tuesday.

Here are the most likely scenarios.

Mr. Assange is allowed to appeal.

In this case, Mr. Assange would be allowed to have a full appeals case heard in front of the British court on new grounds. That could open the door to a new decision about his extradition.

This would mean that the legal case, which has caught the world’s attention and mobilized defenders of press freedom, will continue to be disputed, and that Mr. Assange’s removal to the United States will at least be delayed.

The extradition order was initially denied by a British judge in 2021, who ruled that Mr. Assange was at risk of suicide if sent to a U.S. prison. Britain’s High Court later reversed that decision after U.S. officials issued reassurances about his treatment.

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