Biden administration appeals against Assange extradition verdict
Despite pressure from human rights groups, the US administration under President Joe Biden has appealed against the extradition verdict of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the British court.
A brief filed late on Thursday declared that the US intends to pursue a trial against Assange espionage and hacking-related charges over the leak of hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents from 2009.
“Yes, we filed an appeal and we are continuing to pursue extradition,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi told news agency AFP.
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The US had until Friday to move against the ruling in the UK court that said Assange suffered mental health issues that increases the risk of suicide if he were extradited to the US for trial.
After the verdict, former president Donald Trump’s administration decided to move against it.
However, before Thursday the stance of Biden was not clear as the case is of media freedom and the right to free speech.
After WikiLeaks started publishing the secret documents in 2009, then-President Barack Obama, under whom Biden was the vice president, decided to not pursue the case.
But, Trump, whose election campaign in 2016 was boosted by WikiLeaks publishing Russian-stolen materials hurting his rival Hillary Clinton, the Justice Department built a national security case against Assange.