U.K. Court to Consider Whether to Extradite Julian Assange to U.S.
Today, a British court is set to begin investigating whether to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the U.S. Assange would stand trial on spying charges within the U.S. after he published a trove of secret documents pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The final decision on whether the UK will extradite Assange could still be years away, however, and a verdict is not expected until the late summer or fall. A lawyer for Mr. Assange stated that the verdict will likely be appealed, which will set the stage for a protracted legal battle over the case, which is controversial for its tricky nature regarding freedom of the press.
In May, the U.S. charged Mr. Assange with violating espionage laws and conspiring to hack a military computer. The charges included an 18-count indictment after Mr. Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by British police. Assange has been living under asylum in the embassy for almost seven years, hiding from impending charges. The Justice Department alleges that Mr. Assange and Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst, conspired to break into a military computer and obtain highly sensitive information and classified material that was published on WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011.