Julian Assange has been behind bars in London for more than two years. It is still not definitively decided whether he will be extradited to the US. A landmark hearing is now scheduled.
London (AP) – Wikileaks founder Julian Assange suffered partial defeat in the legal dispute over the US extradition request on Wednesday. As the chairman of the London Supreme Court announced, the space for the main hearing will be expanded in the appeals process scheduled for October.
The US side questions the independence of an expert in assessing Assange’s health. The judge’s ruling that the 50-year-old could initially commit suicide while in US custody must also be rechecked, the US attorney argued at the hearing. Contrary to an earlier decision, both points should now be part of the appeal procedure.
The US judiciary wants to try Assange in the United States on charges of espionage. The Australian faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted. However, a judge in London had rejected the extradition request in January over Assange’s compromised mental health and expected prison conditions in the US. The US law firm appealed.
Assange’s supporters demand his immediate release. The Wikileaks founder has been in London’s Belmarsh maximum security prison for more than two years. He had previously evaded authorities for nearly seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.