British courts allow the United States to appeal Assange’s refusal to deliver

London — The British High Court has granted the US government permission to appeal the decision that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cannot be sent to the United States on suspicion of espionage.

The judiciary said Wednesday that the appeal was granted and the case would be listed on a high court hearing. No date has been set.

In January, a lower court judge denied the US request to send Assange to the United States to face espionage charges over the release of secret military documents by WikiLeaks 10 years ago. District Judge Vanessa Barreitzer said Assange was more likely to commit suicide if detained under harsh US prison conditions and denied surrender for health reasons.

The judge ordered Assange to remain in prison while he could be appealed in the United States, and ruled that Australian citizens “have an incentive to abstain” if released.

Assange, 50, has been in London’s secure Belmarsh prison since he was arrested in April 2019 for skipping bail in another court battle seven years ago.

Assange was trapped at the London Embassy in Ecuador for seven years and fled in 2012 to avoid being handed over to Sweden in the face of allegations of rape and sexual assault. Sweden stopped investigating sex crimes in November 2019 after so much time had passed.

US prosecutors have charged Assange with 17 espionage charges and one computer misuse charge for WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents. The prosecution can be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.

Asanji’s fiancé, Stella Morris, urged US President Joe Biden on Wednesday to withdraw the charges initiated under former President Donald Trump.

“I’m directly appealing to the Biden government to do the right thing, even in this late stage,” said Assange and Morris, who has two young sons. “This case shouldn’t be dragged out a little longer. End this charge, protect freedom of speech, and bring Julian back to his family.”

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