British Judge Refuses To Extradite WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To The US On Mental Health Grounds

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British Judge Refuses To Extradite WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To The US On Mental Health Grounds

A judge in the United Kingdom has stopped the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on grounds that it would be mentally oppressive to do so and that United States prisons were too harsh to incarcerate Assange within.

Assange is wanted in the United States on espionage charges as a result of the work of whistle-blower site 'WikiLeaks' that he created. Wikileaks, for a number of years, put classified documents online that related to activity carried out by a number of governments and powerful organisations across the world, including the United States and the United States military. Military intelligence unveiled by WikiLeaks included a video which showed the US military killing civilians in Iraq.

British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said in her judgement:

"I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America. I accept that oppression as a bar to extradition requires a high threshold. … However, I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange's mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the 'single minded determination' of his autism spectrum disorder."

Commenting on Assange's mental health as part of the extradition hearing, Professor Michael Kopelman, a neuropsychiatry expert, told the judge that Assange was hearing voices, and that he was planning to kill himself in prison. He stated:

"He reported auditory hallucinations, which were voices either inside or outside his head, somatic hallucinations, funny bodily experiences, these have now disappeared. He also has a long history of musical hallucinations, which is maybe a separate phenomenon, that got worse when he was in prison."

Assange has, however, been denied bail despite the ruling against extradition.

Assange was accused of a sexual assault on two women in Sweden in 2010, which he claimed was a pretext to extradite him to Sweden and result in him being sent to the United States on espionage charges. The case was however later dropped due to lack of evidence.

While in the UK, in 2012, and fearing extradition to the US, Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he was granted asylum. Assange stayed in the embassy for seven years where he continued to undertake much of his work. After a change in government in Ecuador, Assange's right to stay in the embassy was revoked and he was arrested by British police who forcibly removed him from the embassy.

There had been speculation that Trump may have pardoned Assange during his time in office, particularly due to WikiLeaks revealing the Hillary Clinton emails in 2016. This, however, did not happen, and it seems unlikely that the new US administration will stop their pursuit of Assange.

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Thinking Humanity: British Judge Refuses To Extradite WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To The US On Mental Health Grounds
British Judge Refuses To Extradite WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange To The US On Mental Health Grounds
A judge in the United Kingdom has stopped the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on grounds that it would be mentall
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