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Julian Assange wins right to appeal US extradition
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Julian Assange wins right to appeal US extradition

Assange would have run out of options if the UK court had ruled against him.

Two judges in a U.K. court have granted Julian Assange a leave to prepare a fresh appeal against his extradition to the U.S. to face charges after leaking military secrets through Wikileaks.

Consequently, Assange will be able to challenge assurances from American officials on how a trial there would be conducted if he is extradited, according to the Guardian.

'We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance.'

The report noted that the two U.K. judges, Victoria Sharp and Justice Johnson, had pushed back a final decision in March on whether Assange could take his case to another appeal hearing. Assange is trying to avoid being extradited to the U.S. after publishing thousands of classified documents — some of which the U.S. government believes presented risks to Americans.

The whistleblower would have run out of options if the court had ruled the extradition could proceed. His legal team said he could have been put on a plane to the U.S. within 24 hours to face charges.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange's lawyer, told the judges that they should reject American assurances that his client could seek the protections granted under the First Amendment because a U.S. court would not be bound by this, according to NBC News.

"We say this is blatantly inadequate assurance," Fitzgerald told the court.

However, it was reported that Fitzgerald did accept a second assurance, which said that Assange would not face the death penalty if he was sent to the U.S. to face charges. He noted that the U.S. had provided an "unambiguous promise not to charge any capital offense."

Now, it could be several months before another appeal is heard.

Though Assange's wife said she hoped he would be there to hear the verdict, the whistleblower was not in attendance for the court's decision due to health reasons.

Assange has been fighting against extradition for 13 years, including seven years when he went into self-exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After he was released from the embassy, he was placed in a high-security prison in London.

Assange faces 17 charges of espionage and a single charge of computer misuse in the U.S. Among the classified documents he released on Wikileaks was a 2007 video of an Apache helicopter piloted by Americans in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

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