A British judge ruled on Monday that WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face charges of breaking a spying law and conspiring to obtain secret U.S. documents by hacking government computers.
A UK judge ruled on Monday (January 4) that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, should not be extradited to the United States.
Nearly all arguments from Assange’s legal team were rejected, but the judge said she could not extradite him because of concerns over his mental health and risk of suicide in the U.S. Assange is accused by American authorities of breaking a spying law and conspiring to obtain secret U.S. documents by hacking government computers.
His lawyers had argued the entire prosecution was a politically-motivated move by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump and that extradition would pose a threat to journalism.
There are a total of 18 charges levelled against Assange relating to the publication of leaked military and diplomatic documents detailing alleged U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The charges could add up to a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
At a hearing at London's Old Bailey, the judge said Assange suffered from severe depression at times.
Half a razor blade was found in his prison cell in May last year, and he had told medical staff about his suicidal thoughts.
Jennifer Robinson is Assange's lawyer.
"This is an important win and a ruling that should be celebrated.
But let's not forget that she also made some very problematic findings on the free speech aspects of this case.” The case is now likely to go to the U.K. Supreme Court, while Assange’s legal team confirmed it will apply for bail.
In the meantime, he will remain at London's Belmarsh prison, where he’s been held from April 2019.
U.S. prosecutors immediately stated they will appeal Monday’s decision.