A UK district court judge has refused extradition WikiLeaks America’s founder Julian Assange.
At a hearing in Westminster Magistrate’s Court this morning, Judge Vanessa Barrator denied extradition on the grounds that Assange is a suicidal risk and extradition to the US prison system would be atrocious, potentially impacting her fragile mental health.
The case has been seen as a decisive test of press freedom and freedom of expression versus state power.
In Holocaust Baraitser rejected several other defense arguments against Assange’s extradition, but stated with clinical testimony that he was a suicidal risk and had the wisdom to bypass measures that would prevent him from taking his own life. Can be taken.
The 132-year judgment reads, “I am satisfied that Mr. Assange will commit suicide,” discussing the testimony of several psychiatrists during last year’s extradition hearing.
“I acknowledge that extradition as a one-time requirement for extradition requires a higher threshold. I also acknowledge that there is a strong public interest to give effect to the obligations of the treaty and is an important factor to keep in mind. However, I am satisfied that, under these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health will deteriorate, leading him to commit suicide with a “single-thought determination” of his autism spectrum disorder.
“I think Mr. Assange’s mental state is such that extraditing him to the United States would be oppressive,” he said.
The decision orders Assange’s immediate release, although the founder of WikiLeaks remains in custody at the time of writing – pending a bail hearing.
The US has 14 days to defend the appeal.
Assange, who (himself) was imprisoned at the Ecuadorian Embassy of London between 2012 and 2019 to escape a warrant against him, was arrested Last year After Ecuador withdrew its diplomatic asylum.
He was convicted in a British court for breaking bail conditions and 50 week sentence.
The US immediately said it would seek his extradition on a separate roster of charges – related to how the classified information leaked by WikiLeaks founder and former army intelligence analyst and whistleblower was leaked, Chelsea manning.