WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to U.S.

( )- Lawyers representing the United States are making another attempt to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange extradited to America from England.

In court, the lawyers are arguing that concerns about Assange’s mental health shouldn’t prevent him from facing justice in the United States.

The U.S. government is looking to officially try Assange, a 50-year-old Australian, on 18 different criminal charges he’s facing. That includes breaking an espionage law after WikiLeaks published in 2010 thousands of diplomatic cables and secret classified files.

On behalf of the U.S. government, James Lewis argued in London’s Court of Appeal that the lower court judge erred in ruling that Assange couldn’t be extradited because there was a high risk that he would kill himself while in a prison in the United States.

In his arguments, which Lewis not only presented to London’s court but also released to media outlets, the lawyer argued that the U.S. gave Britain “a package of assurances” that addressed the concerns the judge had.

The document reads:

“The United States has also provided an assurance that the United States will consent to Mr. Assange being transferred to Australia to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him.”

On Wednesday morning, some of Assange’s supporters gathered outside of the court. They were chanting “free Julian Assange” just as his father and his partner and mother of two children, Stella Morris, arrived at the building.

Throughout this whole ordeal, Assange has denied doing anything wrong. He’s being held in the meantime at Belmarsh Prison. This battle in court has been going on since 2012.

Assange’s website, WikiLeaks, gained much prominence across the world when it started to publish confidential U.S. diplomatic cables and military records. The United States government has said that when WikiLeaks did this, it put lives in danger.

Not long after that happened, Sweden sought to have Assange extradited from Britain because of allegations of sex crimes. He lost an extradition case that year, in 2012, and then fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

He remained there until April of 2019, when he was finally dragged out. Assange eventually found himself in jail after breaching bail conditions that were set in Britain.

Sweden since dropped its case against him, though the United States is still seeking his extradition.

Earlier this year, on January 4, a judge in England rejected Assange’s claims that the case against him is purely political, and also an assault on his rights to freedom of speech.

At the same time, the judge said he shouldn’t be extradited to the United States because he had many mental health problems that would lead him to be a risk of killing himself if he were held in a prison in the United States.

People who support Assange says he’s a hero of the anti-establishment and has been victimized because he exposed wrongdoings by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. They argue that his prosecution is politically motivated and is an assault on free speech and journalism.

Security officials with Western nations, including prosecutors with the U.S., say he’s a reckless enemy of the state.