WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange maybe eventually tried in the US on espionage charges after the UK High Court on Friday granted the US government’s appeal.
In January, a district court denied the US extradition request, citing the vulnerable mental state of the publisher and the possibility that he would take his own life if subjected to prison conditions in the US.
The founder of Wikileaks, which opened up vast quantities of government information to the public, and who hid out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for years, is wanted in the US on eighteen charges — 17 of which are under the US Espionage Act. Assange is charged with releasing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents which had been part of diplomatic cables during the years 2010 –2011.
CIA “plotted to kidnap” Assange
The report detailed the ways in which the CIA conceived of ways in which they could kidnap and assassinate Assange and how the agency conducted research as to whether or not such an operation would be legal. The plan was supposedly headed by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who sources say was enraged after WikiLeaks released files from the CIA’s hacking project, Vault 7, in 2017.
Assange has been in various forms of isolation since June 2012, when he sheltered at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He was granted sanctuary there due to an ongoing extradition process at the request of Sweden, which at the time was seeking to investigate him over allegations that he had sex with two women without receiving their consent to not use protection. The charges have since been dropped.
After a new government took power in Ecuador, which then sought rapprochement with the US, Assange’s situation at the embassy became insecure. In 2019, Metropolitan police were invited in to take him into custody. He was convicted of skipping bail and retained at the maximum security Belmarsh Prison for the duration of his US extradition trial.
Assange supporters say he is being persecuted for exposing the crimes of the US government and its allies, and that countries prosecuting him are effectively discouraging investigative journalism on a global scale.