Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was granted permission to appeal a decision to extradite him to the United States on Monday. Washington wants to put the 50-year-old Australian on trial in connection with the disclosure of 500,000 classified military papers linked to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts by Wikileaks. In December, the High Court in London overruled a lower court’s decision not to extradite him to the United States on the grounds that he would be a suicide danger. The ruling was subsequently contested by Assange’s lawyers, who said that the country’s highest court should rule on “issues of law of wide public concern.”
In a written judgement, justices Ian Burnett and Timothy Holroyde ruled, “The respondent’s motion to certify a point of law is granted.” The judges stated that they were not allowing him the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court. However, Assange had the right to pursue the legal issue at the highest court, which has the authority to determine whether or not to hear the case.
“Julian won,” his girlfriend and the mother of his two young children, Stella Morris, posted on Twitter. “The Supreme Court must now determine whether to consider Julian’s appeal,” she added. Crowds gathered in central London to celebrate the ruling outside the Royal Courts of Justice.
Assange’s attorneys questioned the US government’s claims that he would not be imprisoned in severe isolation at a federal supermax jail and would get sufficient treatment. His supporters have long claimed that being kept on remand at a high-security jail in southeast London has harmed his physical and mental health. He has been imprisoned because he is considered a flight risk, having previously skipped bail in 2012 on charges of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden. He worked in Ecuador’s embassy in London for seven years.
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