Assange’s appeal in the UK against US extradition begins on July 9

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against a British court decision approving his extradition to the United States to stand trial for violating national security laws will begin on July 9, a spokesperson said Tuesday. -judicial word.

Assange, 52, won his challenge to the decision last month, and the two-day hearing will take place at the High Court in London next month.

The Australian publisher is wanted by Washington for having published hundreds of thousands of secret American documents dating from 2010, at the head of the WikiLeaks alert site.

Had he lost last month’s hearing, Assange – who has become a leading figure among free speech advocates – could have been quickly extradited after a five-year legal battle.

In written submissions to the hearing, lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, representing Assange, accepted as “unambiguous” the US government’s assurances that he would not be sentenced to death.

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But he questioned whether his client could invoke the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which covers free speech and freedom of the press, during the trial.

James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court that Assange’s conduct was “simply not protected” by the First Amendment.

This does not apply to anyone “in connection with the publication of illegally obtained national defense information naming innocent sources at grave and imminent risk of harm,” he argued.

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Assange has been held in London’s high security Belmarsh prison since April 2019.

He was arrested after spending seven years locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault charges that were eventually dropped.

US authorities want to put Assange on trial for leaking US military secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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He is accused of having published, starting in 2010, some 700,000 confidential documents relating to American military and diplomatic activities.

The United States charged Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, which his supporters say means he could face up to 175 years in prison.