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Julian Assange’s Extradition Blocked by London Court


Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States has been blocked by a court in London, UK.

The judge blocked the request because of concerns over the WikiLeaks founder’s mental health and risk of suicide in the US.

Julian Assange, who is wanted over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011, says the case is politically motivated.

Expressing disappointment at the ruling, the DoJ noted that its legal arguments had prevailed.

Its position is that the leaks broke the law and endangered lives.

The DoJ said: “While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised.”

The US authorities have 14 days in which to lodge an appeal and are expected to do so.

Julian Assange will now be taken back to Belmarsh Prison – where he is being held – and a full application for his bail will be made on January 6.

His lawyer Ed Fitzgerald QC told the court there would be evidence to show Julian Assange would not abscond.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that while US prosecutors had met the tests for Julian Assange to be extradited for trial, the US was incapable of preventing him from attempting to take his own life.

Outlining evidence of his self-harm and suicidal thoughts, Judge Baraitser said: “The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man fearful for his future.”

She said: “Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge.”

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Julian Assange, who wore a blue suit and green face mask in the dock, closed his eyes as the judge read out her ruling on January 4.

His fiancée Stella Moris, with whom he has two young sons, wept and was comforted by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, who sat next to her in court.

Speaking outside court after the ruling, she called on President Donald Trump to “end this now”.

She said: “Mr. President, tear down these prison walls.

“Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all.”

If convicted in the US, Julian Assange faces a possible penalty of up to 175 years in jail, his lawyers have said. However, the US government said the sentence was more likely to be between four and six years.

He faces an 18-count indictment from the US government, accusing him of conspiring to hack into US military databases to acquire sensitive secret information relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which was then published on the WikiLeaks website.

Julian Assange says the information exposed abuses by the US military.

However, US prosecutors say the leaks of classified material endangered lives, and so the US sought Julian Assange’s extradition from the UK.