By Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui | Related Press

LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received’t discover out till subsequent month on the earliest whether or not he can problem extradition to the U.S. on spying expenses, or if his lengthy authorized battle in Britain has run out of highway.

Two Excessive Courtroom judges mentioned Wednesday they might take time to contemplate their verdict after a two-day listening to during which Assange’s legal professionals argued sending him to the USA would threat a “flagrant denial of justice.”

Attorneys for the U.S., the place Assange has been indicted on espionage expenses, mentioned he put harmless lives in danger and went past journalism in his bid to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish categorized U.S. authorities paperwork.

Assange’s legal professionals requested the Excessive Courtroom to grant him a brand new enchantment — his final roll of the authorized cube within the saga that has stored him in a British high-security jail for the previous 5 years.

The judges overseeing the case reserved their choice, and a ruling on Assange’s future shouldn’t be anticipated till March on the earliest.

If judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson rule towards Assange, he can ask the European Courtroom of Human Rights to dam his extradition — although supporters fear he may very well be placed on a aircraft to the U.S. earlier than that occurs, as a result of the British authorities has already signed an extradition order.

The 52-year-old Australian has been indicted on 17 expenses of espionage and one cost of laptop misuse over his web site’s publication of a trove of categorized U.S. paperwork virtually 15 years in the past. American prosecutors allege Assange inspired and helped U.S. Military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and navy recordsdata that WikiLeaks revealed, placing lives in danger.

Lawyer Clair Dobbin, representing the U.S. authorities, mentioned Wednesday that Assange broken U.S. safety and intelligence providers and “created a grave and imminent threat” by releasing the tons of of 1000’s of paperwork — dangers that might hurt and result in the arbitrary detention of harmless folks, lots of whom lived in conflict zones or underneath repressive regimes.

Dobbin added that in encouraging Manning and others to hack into authorities computer systems and steal from them, Assange was “going a really appreciable manner past” a journalist gathering data.

Assange was “not somebody who has simply arrange a web based field to which individuals can present categorized data,” she mentioned. “The allegations are that he sought to encourage theft and hacking that might profit WikiLeaks.”

Assange’s supporters keep he’s a secrecy-busting journalist who uncovered U.S. navy wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve lengthy argued that the prosecution is politically motivated and he received’t get a good trial within the U.S.

Assange’s legal professionals argued on the primary day of the listening to on Tuesday that American authorities are in search of to punish him for WikiLeaks’ “publicity of criminality on the a part of the U.S. authorities on an unprecedented scale,” together with torture and killings.

Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald mentioned there may be “an actual threat he could undergo a flagrant denial of justice” if he’s despatched to the U.S.

Dobbin mentioned the prosecution relies on legislation and proof, and has remained constant regardless of the modifications of presidency within the U.S. throughout the authorized battle.

She added that the First Modification doesn’t confer immunity on journalists who break the legislation. Media shops that went by way of the method of redacting the paperwork earlier than publishing them usually are not being prosecuted, she mentioned.

Assange’s legal professionals say he may resist 175 years in jail if convicted, although American authorities have mentioned the sentence is more likely to be a lot shorter.

Assange was absent from courtroom on each days as a result of he’s unwell, WikiLeaks mentioned. Stella Assange, his spouse, mentioned he had needed to attend, however was “not in good situation.”

Assange’s household and supporters say his bodily and psychological well being have suffered throughout greater than a decade of authorized battles, together with seven years in self-exile within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

“Julian is a political prisoner and he must be launched,” mentioned Stella Assange, who married the WikiLeaks founder in jail in 2022.

“They’re placing Julian into the palms of the nation and of the individuals who plotted his assassination,” she added, referring to unproven claims by Assange’s legal professionals that he was a goal of a CIA plot to kidnap or kill him whereas he was within the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Supporters holding “Free Julian Assange” indicators and chanting “there is just one choice — no extradition” protested outdoors the Excessive Courtroom constructing for a second day.

Assange’s authorized troubles started in 2010, when he was arrested in London on the request of Sweden, which needed to query him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two girls. In 2012, Assange jumped bail and sought refuge contained in the Ecuadorian Embassy.


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