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20.05.2024.

9:09

Assange receives verdict today: Freedom or extradition?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to find out today whether his 13-year legal battle against his extradition from Great Britain to the United States on espionage charges has been lost.

Izvor: Tanjug

Assange receives verdict today: Freedom or extradition?
EPA-EFE/MONIRUL ALAM

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Two judges of the High Court in London are set to decide whether a British court accepts Washington's assurances that Assange, 52, will not face the death penalty during his espionage trial in the US and will be able to invoke his First Amendment right to freedom speech, reports Reuters.

Assange's legal team says the options are open - he could be on a plane to the United States of America within 24 hours, he could be freed or his case could go into a new, months-long legal process.

"I have a feeling that anything could happen at this stage. He could be extradited or he could be freed," Assange's wife Stella said last week.

WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents about the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a number of diplomatic cables, which is why the US prosecutor's office charges Assange with violating the Espionage Act.

Assange's many supporters around the world consider the lawsuit against him to be an attack on journalism and freedom of speech and revenge. Numerous human rights groups, as well as politicians, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have called for Assange's release.

In 2006, Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks through which he published confidential or sensitive information. On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released a video showing a US helicopter attack that killed civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists.

On July 25, 2010, Assange published more than 91,000 documents, mostly secret US military reports on the war in Afghanistan, through WikiLeaks.

In October 2010, WikiLeaks released 400,000 classified military files on the Iraq war, and the following month, thousands of US diplomatic cables, including the views of foreign leaders and assessments of security threats. Assange was arrested in 2010 in Great Britain, but was released on bail in February 2011.

Westminster Magistrates' Court in London ordered Assange's extradition to Sweden on rape charges, but he has appealed the decision.

The British Supreme Court rejected Assange's appeal, and five days later he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and requested political asylum. He was arrested on 11 April 2019 after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, and on 1 May he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British court for breaching bail.

He is currently in a British prison, where he is awaiting a hearing in the extradition process.

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