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UK Court moves Assange’s extradition hearing to May 20

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UK Court avoids Criminalization of Journalism — for now
Scene outside the Royal Courts of Justice during Julian Assange hearing on Feb. 20. (Joe Lauria)

Today, the United Kingdom High Court of Justice granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange another hearing to avoid extradition to the United States.

Assange was accused of treason by the US government for publishing its war crimes committed in the Middle East.

The court ruled that on three of the nine counts Assange’s legal team asked the court to appeal on, the United States must provide “assurances” to the court, and if the court does not find them satisfactory, Assange can bring his entire appeal.

The court’s reason for such judgment stated that:

Extradition is regulated by legislation passed by Parliament: the Extradition Act 2003. The role of the Magistrates’ Court and the Secretary of State is to determine whether extradition is barred by the 2003 Act. If so, Mr Assange must be discharged. If not, his extradition must be ordered. Leave to appeal should be granted only if it is arguable
that the Magistrates’ Court or the Secretary of State was wrong.

Assange’s case is an example of criminalising journalism in the UK and the United States, in which other nations are most likely to follow suit, particularly where crimes have been committed against humanity.

However, a further hearing is scheduled on May 20 if the United States were to uphold its “assurances” as asked by Assange’s legal team, especially of meeting clients’ rights to the First Amendment would be upheld if extradited to the US.

Meanwhile, the ruling has only avoided press freedom criminalisation for now.

Read: Press Freedom: Police Summons FIJ’s Board of Trustee over “Cybercrime” Persecution

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