The United States accuses the Australian of having published 250,000 diplomatic cables and about half a million confidential documents relating to the activities of the US military on its WikiLeaks website in 2010. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The judiciary has shown more caution towards Assange. At the end of 2017, legal proceedings were launched for “information piracy” in secret form. However, he was not charged with “spying” until May 2019 in under a law passed in 1917 to prevent the disclosure of confidential information in wartime.
In case in who is transferred to the United States, Assange will be tried in a Virginia federal court, after 17 charges were brought against him, including obtaining and disclosing information relating to national defense, and in light of this, he will face imprisonment of up to 175 years. The process is expected to be accompanied by a fierce battle centered on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects freedom of the press.
In an attempt to evade this battle, US authorities say Assange is not a “journalist” and “not a newspaper editor”, and has put military agents and sources at risk. But the dossier raises tough legal issues in one moment in which citizen journalisms are active online. Assange could appeal in appeal to the Supreme Court.
In January 2021, a British court rejected the American extradition request, finding conditions of detention in the United States could fuel suicidal tendencies in Assange. However, the US government was finally in able to convince a court of appeal to take his side, providing various guarantees.
Washington stressed, in in particular, that Assange will receive adequate treatment and will not be detained in a Colorado prison where I am in act strict security measures. He also promised that the WikiLeaks founder would not be subject to “special administrative measures” before, during and after the trial. This includes, in in particular, a system of almost total isolation often denounced by human rights groups.
After all the appeals have been exhausted, Assange will be able to demand that his sentence be carried out in Australia. However, jurists do not trust the United States and accuse them of “often failing to keep their promises on the issue of arrest”.
Press freedom associations have criticized the Australian accusation of “espionage”, in how much this represents a danger to journalists, and a mobilization in its favor is expected. But in a country in where the military is of paramount importance, reactions to the WikiLeaks revelations have been mixed. Some Americans have argued for the exposure of military errors, while others have criticized the exposure of the security of field agents.
A poll conducted in April 2019 showed that 53% of Americans support his extradition to the United States, while 17% oppose it.
The Australian has 14 days to appeal to the British High Court against the extradition order signed by Interior Minister Priti Patel. If the court agrees to consider the appeal, the hearing probably won’t take place until next year.
Assange can also go to the European Court of Human Rights, but such a process usually takes a long time and, apart from legal appeals, his extradition can be delayed for medical reasons if his health deteriorates. Assange’s wife confirmed she suffered a minor stroke last October.