UK May refuse to extradite Wikileaks founder to US due to spying case - Assange's Lawyer

  14 December 2019    Read: 795
UK May refuse to extradite Wikileaks founder to US due to spying case - Assange

The next hearing on the possible extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States will be held on February 25, 2020, and the defense hopes that the request of US authorities will be rejected, lawyer Aitor Martinez, who coordinates Assange's defense in Spain, said. 

"On December 19th, a hearing will be held in the United Kingdom at the Westminster Court, but in a simple procedure to present evidence. Mr. Assange will not be present. Subsequently, on February 25, 2020, a hearing will be held on the extradition, which will decide whether to extradite Mr. Assange to the United States or not, although we hope that the US request will be rejected," the lawyer said.

Until November, the whistleblower faced possible extradition to the US and Sweden. On 19 November, Stockholm announced dropping the investigation into Assange on alleged rape charges. The UK court is now to decide whether to extradite the fugitive journalist to the US where he is wanted on espionage charges.

Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April by the UK police in the Ecuadorian embassy, after Quito withdrew his asylum, and the walls of the embassy, where he was sheltering for the past seven years from extradition, were no longer able to protect him. Later that day, the Magistrates' Court sentenced him to 50 weeks in the Belmarsh high-security prison for breaching bail in the UK and requesting asylum from a third country.

Washington indicted Assange on 17 offenses under the 1917 US Espionage Act, punishable 10 years in prison each, in addition to an allegation that he conspired with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack a classified government computer, punishable 5 years. In total, it brings his potential sentence in the US to 175 years behind bars.

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