On March 14th Julian Assange was denied permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against moves to extradite him to the US, where he faces a potential life sentence.
In January last year, the 50-year-old Australian looked like he could win a reprieve on the grounds he was a suicide risk if he was kept in solitary confinement at a maximum-security US facility.
The US government appealed this, and at a two-day appeal hearing in October its lawyers cited diplomatic assurances that Assange would not be held in punishing isolation at a federal supermax prison, and would receive appropriate care.
Approving that appeal, two judges accepted the new assurances, noting they were not unusual in such cases and “solemn undertakings offered by one government to another.”
Assange appealed that ruling and in January two judges allowed him to apply to the country’s highest court on “points of law of general public importance.”
His legal team say the case will now go back to Westminster Magistrates’ Court where the decision for extradition will be referred to Home Secretary Priti Patel. They have four weeks to make submissions at which point Ms Patel, they say, will then decide whether to order or refuse extradition.
The statement added: “No appeal to the High Court has yet been filed by him in respect of the other important issues he raised previously in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.”
Assange is wanted in America over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information. If convicted in the US, Assange faces a possible penalty of up to 175 years in jail, his lawyers have said. The US government have indicated that the sentence is more likely to be between four and six years.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: HERALD SCOTLAND