UK Judge blocks Assange extradition to USA


Re: United States Of America v Assange [2021] EW Misc 1 (MagC)

A UK judge has ruled that the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, cannot be extradited to the United States of America to face charges of espionage, following concerns over his mental health and risk of suicide.

Prosecutors in the USA accused Assange of helping US defence analyst Chelsea Manning breach the US Espionage Act, and of publishing classified information that endangered informants. Assange fought the extradition, stating that the case against him was politically motivated.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled “Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge.”

The US authorities have indicated an intention to appeal the decision.

Florence Iveson and Mark Summers QC were involved in this case.