The U.S. tries again to extradite Assange from the UK

US tries again to extradite Assange from the UK

Assange faces 18 criminal charges in the United States for breaking an espionage law and conspiring to hack government computers.

A London judge on Wednesday broadened the scope of a U.S. appeal against blocking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the UK and will hear the new attempt at the end of October.

A judge ruled in January that Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges, including violation of an espionage law, alleging that his mental health problems posed a suicide risk.

Assange faces 18 criminal charges in the United States for breaking an espionage law and conspiring to hack government computers.

WikiLeaks published a U.S. military video in 2010 showing a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two members of the Reuters press team. He then published thousands of classified secret files and diplomatic cables.

The legal saga began shortly after, when Sweden requested Assange’s extradition from the UK on allegations of sex crimes. When he lost that case in 2012, he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he spent seven years.

When he was finally released in April 2019, he was imprisoned for breaching the conditions of the British bail, although the Swedish case against him had been withdrawn.

The United States had already received permission to appeal the January ruling for three reasons, but on Wednesday asked for the scope of the ruling to be broadened to include a re-evaluation of the forensic evidence used to assess Assange’s suicide risk.

Judge Timothy Holroyde said it is unusual for an appellate court to reconsider an expert’s evidence when it has been accepted by a lower court.

But he said it was debatable whether the appellate court could make a different assessment, given that a key expert had failed to reveal what he knew about Assange’s relationship with his partner Stella Moris.

“It is my debatable opinion that the… district judge was wrong,” he said.

Attorneys for both parties agreed that the full appeal hearing should be scheduled for October 27 and 28.

Assange attended the hearing by video conference, wearing glasses, a mask and a white shirt.