WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted the right to appeal lower court ruling in the United Kingdom, as he continues his fight to avoid extradition to the United States.
The High Court in London allowed the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal its decision that he could be sent to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges.
He is wanted in the US over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
The decision is the latest step in Assange’s long-running battle to avoid trial on a series of charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents more than a decade ago.
Just over a year ago, at the start of 2021, a district court judge in London rejected a U.S. extradition request on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. U.S. authorities later provided assurances that the WikiLeaks founder wouldn’t face the severe treatment his lawyers said would put his physical and mental health at risk.
The High Court last month overturned the lower court’s decision, saying that the U.S. promises were enough to guarantee the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would be treated humanely.
Stella Moris, Mr Assange’s fiancee and mother of his two young sons, claimed the High Court ruling as a victory but said “we are far from achieving justice in this case”.
Speaking outside the court, she said: “Let’s not forget that every time we win, as long as this case isn’t dropped, as long as Julian isn’t freed, Julian continues to suffer.
“For almost three years he has been in Belmarsh prison and he is suffering profoundly.”
She added: “Our fight goes on and we will fight this until Julian is free.”
The court decision on Monday gave Assange this permission to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Massimo Moratti, from Amnesty International, said while the organisation welcomed the High Court’s decision on the matter of US assurances, it was “concerned” the court had “dodged its responsibility” on ensuring issues of public importance were fully considered by the judiciary.
He added: “The courts must ensure that people are not at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. This was at the heart of the two other issues the High Court has now effectively vetoed.”
Mr Moratti added that the Supreme Court should have had the chance to consider and rule on all the points of law raised by Mr Assange, adding: “If the question of torture and other ill-treatment is not of general public importance, what is?
The Wikileaks documents revealed how the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents during the war in Afghanistan, while leaked Iraq war files showed 66,000 civilians had been killed and prisoners tortured by Iraqi forces.
The US says the leaks broke the law and endangered lives, but Mr Assange says the case is politically motivated.