London, January 2
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will find out on Monday whether he can be extradited from the UK to the US to face espionage charges over the publication of secret American military documents.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser is due to deliver her decision at London’s Old Bailey courthouse at 10 am on Monday. If she grants the request, then Britain’s home secretary, Priti Patel, would make the final decision.
Whichever side loses is expected to appeal, which could lead to years more legal wrangling.
However, there’s a possibility that outside forces may come into play that could instantly end the decade-long saga.
Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, has appealed to US President Donald Trump via Twitter to grant a pardon to Assange before he leaves office on January 20.
And even if Trump doesn’t, there’s speculation that his successor, Joe Biden, may take a more lenient approach to Assange’s extradition process.
US prosecutors indicted the 49-year-old Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the US government said in their closing arguments that Assange’s defense team had raised issues that were not relevant. — Agencies