The United Kingdom may still extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, the British Supreme Court rules. The extradition was previously blocked by a judge due to concerns about Assange’s mental health.
The exchange has now been approved because the US has made commitments to lower the risk of suicide. For example, the US has promised that Assange will not be locked up in an isolation cell and that he will not be transferred to a so-called supermax prison. In addition, Assange is allowed to serve the sentence he receives after conviction in his home country of Australia. Assange faces a maximum prison sentence of 175 years in the US. Assange still has the option to appeal the ruling.
The US has been trying to get hold of Assange since the revelations about the CIA’s illegal spy programs in 2011.
Assange’s fiancé and lawyers find the commitments vague and inadequate and plan to challenge the verdict. Wikileaks’ current editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the ruling puts Assange’s life in danger and threatens the right and freedom of the press to publish information that embarrasses governments.
Amnesty International calls the judgment “a mockery of the law” and points out that “Assange is at risk of serious human rights violations” if extradited to the US. According to the director of Amnesty international Nils Muižnieks, the US has reserved the right to ‘change its mind at any time. Muižnieks, therefore, considers the guarantees ‘worth less than the paper on which they are written’.
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