Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Appears in Court For Bail Hearing.
WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange will discover today, Wednesday, if he will be allowed to taste freedom after years of self-incarceration and jail time, following victory in his battle to avoid extradition from Britain to the United States.
A British high court judge on Monday rejected a request from U.S. authorities for Assange, 49, to be sent across the Atlantic to face 18 criminal charges of breaking an espionage law and conspiring to hack government computers. The charges relate to the release by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables which U.S. officials say put lives in danger.
Although Judge Vanessa Baraitser accepted the U.S. legal arguments in the case, she said Assange’s mental health issues meant he would be at risk of suicide if he were extradited. The U.S. Department of Justice says it will continue to seek his extradition and will appeal against her verdict.
If Judge Baraitser grants his request at a hearing which is due to begin at 10:00 am GMT, Assange will be able to enjoy freedom for the first time in more than eight years. Admirers hail Australian-born Assange as a hero for exposing what they describe as abuses of power by the United States. However, detractors cast him as a dangerous figure who has undermined the security of the West and dispute that he is a journalist.
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