UK appeal court reverses decision to not extradite WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange would face 18 counts of hacking US government computers, violating espionage law.

UK appeal court reverses decision to not extradite WikiLeaks founder

The US won Friday an appeal case against a decision that blocks the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

London's High Court of Justice overturned a lower court decision made in January that Assange cannot be extradited due to concerns over his mental health.

In the ruling, the court said it "was satisfied" that the assurances made by the US were "sufficient to meet the concerns" and so "allowed the appeal."

The case will go back to a lower court, Westminster Magistrates' Court, for a new decision. The losing party has a right to a final appeal to the UK's Supreme Court.

Should he be extradited to the US, Assange would face one count of hacking US government computers and 17 other counts of violating the Espionage Act. The charges come with a potential prison sentence of 175 years.

The US accuses Assange of espionage after WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of pages of secret government documents, including diplomatic cables and military records. Most notably, WikiLeaks released classified video recordings of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a dozen civilians, including two Reuters staffers.

Assange was dragged out of Ecuador Embassy in London, where he took refuge for more than seven years, in 2019. British police said he was arrested for skipping bail in 2012.

He was found guilty of breaking the terms of his bail in 2012 after failing to surrender to security services by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and given a 50-week prison term, which he dodged by fleeing to Ecuador's diplomatic building.