UK High Court Allows US To Appeal Ban On Assange Extradition

Above Photo: Sjiong, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The High Court in London on Wednesday said that the United States can go ahead with its appeal of Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser’s Jan. 4 decision not to allow the extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States, WikiLeaks said in a tweet.

Baraitser had ruled that Assange’s physical and mental health put him at high risk of suicide if he should be sent to a U.S. prison to stand trial on charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and of espionage in his work as a journalist publishing government secrets revealing evidence of state crimes.

According to WikiLeaks, the court agreed to list the U.S. appeal for a hearing, but permission to appeal was granted only on “narrow, technical grounds.” WikiLeaks said the U.S. cannot appeal Baraitser’s factual findings in regard to Assange’s health, the only reason given by her to deny his extradition. Baraitser agreed with the U.S. on every other point in her judgement.

Though Baraitser said she was discharging Assange she then denied him bail and threw him back into Belmarsh Prison where he has languished since April 2019. He will remain there until the appeal is heard. No date for a hearing has yet been set.

The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet commented on the matter. The High Court has not posted its decision on its website.

WikiLeaks release said:

“The UK High Court has notified the parties involved in Julian Assange’s extradition case that the United States government’s appeal will be listed for a hearing.The decision by the High Court simply gives permission for the U.S. government to attempt to challenge the ruling, but it does not reflect the merits of the US arguments.Permission has been granted on a limited basis, allowing only narrow, technical grounds to form the basis of the appeal. Crucially, the High Court did not allow the United States to appeal any of the factual findings concerning Assange’s condition. No date has been set for the hearing.Assange’s extradition was blocked in January on the grounds that it would be “oppressive”, citing the circumstances of the extradition, as well as his clinical history and Autism Spectrum disorder diagnosis, which, combined, would drive him to suicide. The High Court affirmed Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s conclusions concerning his clinical condition, as well as the independent expert evidence on which she relied.”