Can Assange appeal his extradition to the US for espionage? This is what the British Court says

LONDON.- A British court ruled this Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the United States on espionage charges.

Two High Court judges indicated that Assange has grounds to appeal the British government's extradition order.

His supporters cheered and applauded in court when news of the ruling reached them. Royal Court of Justice.

The ruling set the stage for an appeals process that would likely lengthen a years-long legal battle. Assange faces 17 charges of espionage and another of inappropriate use of a computer for the publication on its website of a batch of classified US documents almost 15 years ago.

Assange's lawyers argued on Monday that the United States had provided “clearly inadequate” assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would be covered by press protections if he was extradited to the United States.

Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said the prosecution had not ensured that Assange, who is an Australian citizen and has claimed protections for journalists to publish classified US information, could rely on the press protection of the First Amendment of the American Constitution.

US prosecutors allege that Assange encouraged and helped US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic dispatches and military documents published by WikiLeaks.

Assange's lawyers have alleged that he was a journalist who exposed wrongdoing by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sending him to the United States, they say, would leave him exposed to politically motivated prosecution and pose a risk of “blatant denial of justice”.

The US government says Assange's actions went far beyond those of a journalist gathering information and amounted to an attempt to indiscriminately solicit, steal and publish government documents.

Assange's family and defenders say his physical and mental health has suffered during more than a decade of legal battle, which includes seven years spent inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London between 2012 and 2019. He has been in a high-security British prison for the last five years..