WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US, a UK court ruled
- A UK judge on Monday refused a US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
- Assange faces a litany of charges in the US, including conspiracy to hack US government computers and breaching the Espionage Act after WikiLeaks published military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
- He has been imprisoned in the UK since April 2019, and has argued that US attempts to extradite him are politically motivated.
- Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled extradition to the US would endanger Assange's mental health and place him at risk of suicide.
- The US will appeal the ruling.
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US, after a UK court deemed him a suicide and self-harm risk.
UK district judge Vanessa Baraitser on Monday blocked the US request, stating: "I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America."
Assange is wanted in the US on a litany of conspiracy and hacking charges with a maximum prison sentence of 175 years. The US government has accused him of conspiracing to hack US government computers, and of breaching the Espionage Act when WikiLeaks published military and diplomatic documents in 2010. Assange faces 18 charges in total.
He has fought the extradition request, stating that the US case is politically motivated.
The WikiLeaks founder has been imprisoned in the UK since April 2019, when he was arrested and convicted for breaching bail conditions. Prior to that, he had taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years, until it revoked his asylum, claiming it was fed up with his bad behavior. He had fled to the embassy after facing a separate extradition request from Sweden on allegations of sexual assault. The case was subsequently dropped.
Since his arrest, he has been housed in HMP Belmarsh, which has been described as the UK's "Guántanamo Bay." The US asked to extradite him in April 2019.
Baraitser said she accepted evidence that Assange suffers from "recurrent depressive disorder." She added medical notes from Assange's detainment in Belmarsh showed he had expressed "suicidal or self-harming thoughts" to staff on multiple occasions, and that in May 2019 half a razor blade was found in his cell.
Baraitser concluded that her "overall impression" of Assange's mental state was of a "depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future."
The US said it would appeal the decision, per the Associated Press.
Baraitser said Assange is expected to be kept in custody ahead of the appeal from the US, per the Independent.
Business Insider has approached Assange's legal team and the US Department of Justice for comment.
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