Julian Assange is scheduled for a hearing in London’s High Court that could either send him to the U.S. to face espionage charges or provide another opportunity to appeal his extradition.

Assange, a 52-year-old Australian computer expert, faces 18 charges in the U.S. related to WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

Prosecutors allege hacked into Pentagon systems and disclosed secret diplomatic cables and military files from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Julian Assange: Facing 175 years in prison

Conviction on these charges could lead to a prison term of up to 175 years, though U.S. authorities suggest the sentence would likely be much shorter.

Supporters argue that Assange acted as a journalist under First Amendment protections, aiming to expose U.S. military misconduct. Among WikiLeaks’ notable releases was footage of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

“Julian has been indicted for receiving, possessing, and communicating information to the public about U.S. government war crimes,” said his wife, Stella Assange. “Reporting a crime is never a crime.”

U.S. lawyers counter that Assange’s actions put intelligence sources in Afghanistan and Iraq at grave risk.

Fighting his daily battle

Assange’s health has reportedly deteriorated during his imprisonment. “He’s fighting to survive, and that’s a daily battle,” his wife said.

In 2021, a London judge blocked his extradition. However, subsequent assurances from U.S. authorities led to the British government authorizing his extradition in 2022.

President Joe Biden recently indicated he might consider a request from Australia to drop the case and allow Assange to return home, a move welcomed by Assange’s supporters as a potentially hopeful sign.

If Assange succeeds, it would initiate an appeal process that could further prolong the case. If denied,  supporters worry that Assange might be extradited before the court in Strasbourg, France, can intervene.

Cover Photo: Depositphotos

Read More News

Human bones found in a Wisconsin music store chimney in 1989 identified now

The post Julian Assange: Final UK court battle over US extradition on espionage charges appeared first on The Independent News.