A UK High Court has approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US.
Assange has been wanted by US authorities since the early 2010s for his role in acquiring and disseminating military and diplomatic documents via the WikiLeaks website. Following a long stint at Ecuador’s embassy in London, he was finally arrested in 2019, when his asylum was revoked. He has been indicted on 18 criminal counts, including 17 espionage charges. The collective maximum sentence for all charges comes to 175 years, but the US government has indicated that the actual imprisonment would be far, far shorter.
This decision follows an earlier ruling made in January 2021, which denied the US request based on the court’s perception that it posed too great a risk to Assange’s wellbeing. The judge forbade the extradition due to “a recurrent depressive disorder which was severe in December 2019 and sometimes accompanied by psychotic features (hallucinations), often with ruminative suicidal ideas.”
The new ruling takes concerns over Assange’s mental health into account, but it also integrates a series of four “assurances” made by US officials. These include: a promise that Assange will never be held under any “special