UK high court denies Assange appeal over US extradition
© WikiMedia (Anthony Crider)
UK high court denies Assange appeal over US extradition

The United Kingdom’s highest court Monday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal of a decision allowing his extradition to the US because there were not any substantial arguments on points of law.

The appeal followed a series of cases between Assange and the US government requesting his extradition from the UK. Initially, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser accepted many of the US Government’s submissions. However, Assange was ultimately discharged under § 91(3) of the Extradition Act 2003. The court feared that his mental state in conjunction with the harsh conditions of US solitary confinement would create a severe suicide risk.

Lord Burnett of Maldon and Lord Justice Holroyde in the UK high court ultimately overturned this decision on appeal. The justices found that Assange would not pose a danger to himself after the US government assured the court that he would not experience the alleged conditions.

The High court’s decision has sparked a backlash from a range organisations, such as Amnesty International, who called the findings a blow to Julian Assange and to justice, arguing that “The Supreme Court [] missed an opportunity to clarify the UK’s acceptance of deeply flawed diplomatic assurances against torture.”

US authorities have long wanted Julian Assange for his founding of Wikileaks, a website that famously published a range of confidential US government files in 2011 revealing Afghanistan and Iraq war logs alongside military footage of civilian casualties from US operations. Following Assange’s Wikileaks involvement, he found sanctuary in multiple countries, including Sweden, where he faced allegations of sexual assault from the Swedish Prosecution Authority before finding sanctuary in England.

Following Assange’s council’s failure to appeal the High Court’s findings, his extradition is to be decided by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has yet to announce the UK government’s decision.