Britain's high court grants Julian Assange's extradition to US

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A supporter of Julian Assange is seen outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, on Dec. 10, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges, the Royal Courts of Justice ruled in London on Friday as the body overturned a lower court ruling earlier this year.

Assange, 50, is wanted in the United States on allegations of disclosing national defense information following WikiLeaks's publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked military documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars a decade ago.

Assange has been held at south London's high-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019. In January, a lower court refused the U.S. request to extradite Assange due to concerns over his mental health, citing the risk that highly-restrictive conditions of U.S. prisons could make him suicidal.

Giving his judgment on Friday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon said: "That risk is in our judgment excluded by the assurances which are offered (by the U.S. authorities)."

Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange is seen outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, on Dec. 10, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lawyers for the United States said Assange would be allowed to transfer to Australia, his home country, to serve any prison sentence he may be given.

Judges ordered that the case must return to the Westminster Magistrates' Court for a district judge to formally send it to British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who oversees law enforcement in Britain and will make the final decision on whether to extradite Assange.

Calling the decision a "grave miscarriage of justice," Assange's partner Stella Moris said Assange's lawyers would seek to appeal to Britain's Supreme Court.

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