WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the United States, a British judge ruled on Monday, Jan. 4, to face charges of espionage and hacking government computers.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser deemed Assange to be a suicide risk and referred to his episodes of severe depression and diagnosis of autism.
“I find that Mr. Assange’s risk of committing suicide if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial,” said Baraitser. “The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future.”
In May 2019, a half razor blade was discovered in his cell, in a London prison, and he had talked about suicide with medical staff.
Assange appeared at the hearing wearing a navy suit and a mask and appeared unemotional after the ruling.
His partner Stella Moris, also the mother of his two children, was pleased with the court decision but said the threat of extradition still remained.
“I call on the president of the United States to end this now: Mr. President, tear down these prison walls, let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all,” she said, reports OAN.
Assange is considered an enemy of the state, and the agents named in the leaked documents were said to have been placed in danger because of Assange’s recklessness.
The U.S. Department of Justice intends to pursue Assange’s extradition.
“While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised. In particular, the court rejected all of Mr. Assange’s arguments regarding political motivation, political offense, fair trial, and freedom of speech. We will continue to seek Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States,” department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement.
Were he to be extradited after an appeal, Assange would face a total of 18 charges of spying and computer hacking in the United States, which carry a jail sentence of up to 175 years.
Assange will make an appeal for bail at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, citing the worsening of the CCP Virus and conditions at Belmarsh high-security prison, where he is currently being detained.
Assange is regarded by his supporters as a hero of the anti-establishment, and he has become a victim for exposing U.S. deeds in Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. Journalists and free speech have become a target alongside Assange his supporters maintain, reports OAN.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his country would now offer Assange political asylum. “Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance, I am in favor of pardoning him,” he said. “We’ll give him protection.”