Wikileaks founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the United States, a court in London has ruled
The judge blocked the request because of concerns over the mental health of Julian Assange and risk of suicide in the US.
The 49-year-old is wanted over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
The United States has claimed that the leaks broke the law and endangered lives. Julian Assange has fought the extradition and says that the case is politically motivated. The US authorities have said the decision will be appealed.
This comes after Most of England’s primary schools have reopened on Monday – amid rows over whether pupils should be returning with the current COVID restrictions.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that although prosecutors in the US had met the tests for Mr Assange to be extradited for trial in the states, the US was incapable of preventing Assange from attempting to take his own life.
She outlined evidence of his self harm and suicidal thoughts and said:
“The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man fearful for his future.”
She said: “Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at HMP Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the US will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge.”
If convicted in the US, Julian Assange faces a potential penalty of up to 175 years in jail, according to his lawyers. However the US government has said that the sentence was most likely to be between four and six years of jail time.
Assange faces an 18-count indictment from the United States government, who have accused him of conspiring to hack into US military databases in order to acquire sensitive secret information that was relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which was then later published to the Wikileaks website.
He says the information exposed abuses by the US military, however, US prosecutors say that the leaks of these classified materials endangered lives, and so the US government sought his extradition from the UK, where he is currently detained in Belmarsh Prison.
Extradition is the process in which one country can request another nation to hand over a suspect so they can face trial.
This comes after Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient has become the first to receive the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19, after Over half a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were made ready for use on Monday.
Mr Assange was jailed for 50 weeks back in May of 2019 for breaching his bail conditions when he went into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He sought refuge in the embassy for seven years from 2012 until he was arrested in April 2019.
During the time that he fled to the embassy, he had been facing extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault which Mr Assange denied. That case was later dropped.