- NEW YORK POST - Jan 4, 2021 -
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won his legal battle against being extradited from the UK to face espionage charges — after a British judge decided he would likely commit suicide if sent to the US.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that it would be “oppressive” to extradite the 49-year-old Australian because of his mental health as he faced up to 175 years in prison for allegedly hacking into US government computers.
She described Assange as “a depressed and sometimes despairing man” who had the “intellect and determination” to circumvent any suicide prevention measures taken by American prison authorities.
The US government immediately announced that it would appeal the decision.
“While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised. In particular, the court rejected all of Mr. Assange’s arguments regarding political motivation, political offense, fair trial, and freedom of speech,” a US Department of Justice spokesman said in a statement.
“We will continue to seek Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States.”
Assange’s lawyers, meanwhile, said they would press for his release from a London prison during a bail hearing set for Wednesday.