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US lawyers told UK court

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Julian Assange, who denies any wrongdoing, is being held in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison.

United States lawyers on Wednesday launched a new effort to extradite Julian Assange from Britain, arguing that concerns about the WikiLeaks founder’s mental health should not prevent him from facing US justice.

The 50-year-old Australian is wanted in the United States on 18 criminal charges, including breaking an espionage law, after his group published thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010.

James Lewis, a lawyer working for the US government, told the Court of Appeals in London that a lower court judge was wrong in ruling that Assange could not be extradited to a US prison because of a high risk of suicide. Was.

A document outlining Lewis’ arguments, presented in court and released to the media, said the United States had provided Britain “a package of assurances” to address the judge’s concerns.

“The United States has also assured that the United States will consent to the transfer of Mr. Assange to Australia in order to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him,” the document said.

Assange’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse early Wednesday and chanted “Free Julian Assange” before his father and mother of two of his children, Stella Morris, arrived.

Assange, who denies any wrongdoing, is being held in Belmarsh Prison. He was expected to appear via video link, but the court was told that he did not feel well enough to do so.

The hearing is the latest in a legal battle that has been going on since 2012.

WikiLeaks came to prominence when it began publishing huge chunks of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables that the US says endanger lives.

Soon after, Sweden sought Assange’s extradition from Britain on charges of sex crimes. When he lost a case against extradition in 2012, he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London and remained there before finally being dragged out in April 2019.

Assange was then jailed for violating British bail conditions, although the Swedish case against him was dropped, and US authorities sought his extradition.

On 4 January, a British judge rejected his argument that the case was political and an attack on freedom of expression, but said he should not be extradited because his mental health problems meant he could commit suicide in a US prison. will be at risk.

Supporters view Assange as an anti-establishment hero who has been victimized because he has exposed American wrongdoing in Afghanistan and Iraq and say his prosecution is a politically motivated attack on journalism and free speech.

US prosecutors and Western security officials regard him as a reckless enemy of the state, whose actions threatened the lives of the agents named in the leaked material.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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