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Julian Assange Extradition On Hold Until U.S. Gives More Assurances

WorldJulian Assange Extradition On Hold Until U.S. Gives More Assurances

The High Court in London ruled on Tuesday that Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, cannot be immediately extradited to the United States, saying American authorities must offer assurances about his treatment first, including over his First Amendment rights and protection from the death penalty.

The decision had been highly anticipated as the moment the court would decide if Mr. Assange had exhausted his challenges within British courts. Instead, in a nuanced ruling, two judges determined that clarity on his fate would again be on hold.

The two High Court judges said that the court “will grant leave to appeal” on narrow grounds, “unless a satisfactory assurance is provided by the Government of the United States of America.”

The court has given the United States three weeks “to give satisfactory assurances” that Mr. Assange “is permitted to rely on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (which protects free speech), that he is not prejudiced at trial (including sentence) by reason of his nationality, that he is afforded the same First Amendment protections as a United States citizen and that the death penalty is not imposed.”

If those assurances are not given by April 16, then Mr. Assange will be granted a full appeal hearing. If the United States does provide the requested assurances, there will be a further hearing on May 20 to decide if they “are satisfactory, and to make a final decision on leave to appeal.”

While the United States has already provided some assurances over the treatment of Mr. Assange if he was extradited, the High Court judges asked for additional guarantees.

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