A UK court has formally approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the USA on espionage charges.
A final decision on extradition will be up to Home Secretary Priti Patel although that can be appealed to the UK High Court.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has opened a petition urging the home secretary to reject Assange’s extradition. It can be signed here – https://rsf.org/en/free-assange-petition-april-2022
Assange’s lawyer told a brief hearing on April 20 at Westminster Magistrate’s Court, which had jurisdiction in the case, that the law did not allow him to raise fresh evidence in court but there had been “fresh developments” and “serious submissions” would be made to the home secretary regarding “sentencing and other matters”.
The defence team has four weeks to make representations to the home secretary and could also try to raise other legal challenges in appeal.
The 7-minute hearing took place after the UK supreme court in March refused Assange’s appeal against his extradition. He had sought to challenge a judgment by the high court in December that ruled he could be extradited after assurances from the US authorities with regard to his prison conditions there.
The U.S. accuses Assange of conspiring to hack into US military databases to acquire sensitive secret information relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The documents published on WikiLeaks revealed how the U.S. military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents during the war in Afghanistan and the leaked Iraq war files showed 66,000 civilians had been killed, and prisoners tortured by Iraqi forces.
UK court approves extradition – 20 April 2022
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) petition to home secretary
Supreme Court denies Assange permission to appeal – 14 March 2022
Supreme Court ruling against appeal – 14 March 2022
High Court rules for U.S. against Assange – 10 December 2021
The WikiLeaks revelations