After a long battle, the British government is approving the extradition of Australian WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. But what does this mean for Julian Assange, and is it fair?
Assange is a well-known whistleblower. The founder of WikiLeaks starts his journey around 2006. However, WikiLeaks only became a household name in 2010, when Assange published over 500,000 classified military documents. This is the largest leak of classified material in US military history, and the US wants to convict Assange of espionage-related charges. This means that he could end up in prison for 175 years.
Assange’s case highlights what is missing from the Espionage Act. Under US law, the Espionage Act is designed to protect the US from foreign governments obtaining classified information.
However, it doesn’t have any allowance for a whistle-blower like Assange. So is Julian Assange guilty of espionage or is he exempt under the Freedom of Information Act? The US believes he is guilty, saying he has put lives in danger by his release of classified documents. Last month, the UK Home Secretary approved his extradition saying it would not compromise his human rights and he would be treated appropriately.
Last week he lodged an appeal to the UK High Court to block his extradition. The US will now have to wait longer to see Julian Assange in court. Ever a controversial figure, Assange’s wife, Stella told reporters that they were ‘going to fight this. We’re going to use every appeal avenue’.
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