Julian Assange wins bid to appeal US extradition decision: British judges

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won a bid to appeal a British court ruling that approved his extradition to the United States to face charges for violating national security laws.

Two judges at London’s High Court gave Assange permission to appeal after previously asking Washington to provide “satisfactory guarantees” on the protection of freedom of expression in any US trial.

Those submissions were presented at a hearing on Monday, which the 52-year-old Australian was not present.

Assange is wanted by Washington for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret US documents from 2010 as head of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Had he lost at Monday’s hearing, Assange, who has become a figurehead for free speech campaigners, could have been quickly extradited after a five-year legal battle.

Instead, he will now face a new trial in his long-running legal saga after the British government approved his extradition in June 2022.

Assange’s wife Stella said outside court that the ruling “marks a turning point” and that “as a family we are relieved that the court has made the right decision.

‘Everyone can see what needs to be done here. Julian must be released,” she added.

Human rights monitor Amnesty International called the ruling “a rare piece of positive news for Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom.”

“The US’s continued attempt to prosecute Assange endangers media freedom worldwide. It makes a mockery of the US’s obligations under international law and its stated commitment to freedom of expression,” said Simon Crowther, Legal Adviser at Amnesty.

– Cheers to Assange –

In written submissions to the hearing, Edward Fitzgerald, who represented Assange, accepted as “unequivocal” assurances from the US government that he would not face the death penalty.