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The High Court in London has ruled that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, cannot be immediately extradited to the United States. The court has determined that American authorities must offer assurances about his treatment first, including protection of his First Amendment rights and ensuring he is not subject to the death penalty. The court has allowed for a narrow appeal on these grounds, unless satisfactory assurances are given by the U.S. government within three weeks. There will be further hearings to determine the outcome based on these assurances.

The United States has been seeking the extradition of Julian Assange since 2019, accusing him of violating the Espionage Act through the release of classified documents by WikiLeaks in 2010. Assange has been fighting the extradition through the British courts while detained in a high-security prison in London. His case has raised political and freedom of speech issues, with calls for the charges to be reduced or dismissed. Assange’s wife, Stella, has called for the U.S. government to drop the charges, stating that he should never have been imprisoned, and labeling him as a political prisoner.

Julian Assange’s legal battles began when he moved to Britain in 2010 from Sweden, where he faced sexual assault accusations. He was granted political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 and stayed there for seven years. The Swedish case was eventually dropped, but in 2019 he was arrested following the withdrawal of asylum and the announcement of U.S. charges against him. The legal proceedings have continued over the years, with various court rulings and appeals.

In a High Court hearing, Assange’s lawyer argued that he was exposing serious criminality by publishing the leaked documents and should be protected under the First Amendment. There were allegations mentioned in the court about discussions within the C.I.A. during the Trump administration regarding plans to assassinate Assange while he was in the Ecuadorean Embassy, which had been reported by Yahoo News in 2021. Assange’s legal team claimed to have evidence of these discussions, although they were denied by the Trump administration.

The legal battle over Julian Assange’s extradition has drawn international attention, with concerns about freedom of speech and potential human rights violations. His lawyers have indicated that they will turn to the European Court of Human Rights if further appeals are blocked in Britain. The case has become a focal point for advocacy groups and political figures, with calls for a resolution that protects journalists and whistleblowers. The outcome of the proceedings will have significant implications for extradition, freedom of the press, and individual rights.

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