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  • Australian journalist Julian Assange.

    Australian journalist Julian Assange. | Photo: Twitter/ @THR

Published 4 January 2021
Opinion

His legal situation, however, is not yet fully assured since Judge Baraitser's ruling might be appealed in the next few days.

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser on Monday ruled that Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage and hacking government computers, as reported by The Guardian.

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In making her decision, the British judge argued that the U.S. prison system has terrible and repressive characteristics, which puts Assange at risk of suicide.

"The rejection by the U.K. court of the US Govt's request to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial on espionage charges is obviously great news. But the judge endorsed most of the USG's theories, but ultimately found the U.S. prison system too inhumane to permit extradition," The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

For the past several years, the United States has been attempting to extradite Assange for prosecution on 18 charges related to the publication by WikiLeaks as of 2010 of hundreds of thousands of secret documents that exposed the involvement of the U.S. government in unlawful military actions such as civilian killings, torture, and other abuses, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the WikiLeaks founder had been extradited to the United States, he could have faced up to 175 years in prison.

His lawyers affirmed that the attempt to extradite the Australian journalist is an evident example of retaliation against press freedom as Washington seeks to punish Assange for having exposed its illegal actions to the world.

Assange's legal situation, however, is not yet fully assured since Judge Baraitser's ruling might be appealed in the next few days.

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