A British high court just ruled that Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange can be extradited to theU.S. to face espionage charges.
According to The Washington Post, the 50-year-old Australian will remain in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since April 2019 after the Ecuadoran Embassy revoked his political asylum.
His lawyers claim they will seek appeal but this news is devastating depressed freedom advocates and human rights advocates.
“Today is international human rights day, what a shame. How cynical to have this decision on this day,” says Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee.
“This is an utterly shameful development that has alarming implications not only for Assange’s mental health, but also for journalism and press freedom around the world,” says Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns for Reporters Without Borders.
The decision overturns an earlier ruling by Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, who argued in January that extradition would endanger the WikiLeaks founder’s life, writes Common Dreams.
As reported by The New York Times, the ruling was a victory for the Biden administration, at least for now, which has pursued an effort to prosecute Mr. Assange begun under the Trump administration.
“Biden’s administration cannot reasonably claim to support principles of democracy and human rights while at the same time seeking the extradition of a publisher, Julian Assange, which is opposed by global press freedom organizations,” says Shadowproof’s Kevin Gosztola.