A poster supporting Julian Assange. It says 'Free Assange' and 'No U.S. Extradition'

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Judge denies U.S. request to extradite Julian Assange

The judge cited mental health concerns in her decision.

Jan 4, 2021, 9:01 am*

Tech

 

Andrew Wyrich

A judge in the United Kingdom has denied a request from the U.S. government to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing mental health concerns.

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The judge, Vanessa Baraister, released a 132-page decision on Monday. In it, Baraister said she believed Assange's risk of "committing suicide ... to be substantial" if he were extradited to the United States.

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In her decision, Baraister also noted that Assange would face harsh prison conditions in the U.S. if he were extradited.

"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," Baraister wrote.

Assange is facing an 18-count indictment on espionage and hacking charges, including violating the Espionage Act, related to the publication of classified information regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on WikiLeaks.

The U.S. has said it will appeal Baraister's decision, according to TechCrunch. Assange could be released from prison as soon as Wednesday when his lawyers argue for granting bail, Bloomberg reports.

In recent weeks there have been false rumors that President Donald Trump was preparing to pardon Assange. In one viral tweet that claimed so, the user soon admitted that it wasn't true and that he had a "faulty source."

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*First Published: Jan 4, 2021, 8:59 am