Julian Assange's Extradition to US Blocked Over Mental Health Concerns

A judge at the U.K.'s Central Criminal Court ruled Monday that there would be a "high risk" of suicide if Assange was sent to face charges in the U.S.

Jan 4, 2021 at 3:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:51 a.m. UTC

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange cannot legally be extradited to the U.S., according to a ruling from the U.K.'s Central Criminal Court on Monday.

  • District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange's poor mental health rules out sending him to face charges of espionage and the hacking of government computers under section 91(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.
  • Assange is wanted by U.S. authorities over the publication of classified documents between 2010 and 2011 relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • In the ruling, Judge Baraitser said Assange's mental condition is such that, if extradited to the U.S. and kept in isolated conditions, there is a "high risk" of suicide.
  • According to detailed psychiatric reports and assessments, Assange has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and has a history of mental health issues.
  • U.S. authorities have 14 days in which to appeal and are expected to do so. For now, Assange will remain in custody at Belmarsh Prison, according to The Guardian.
  • As previously reported by CoinDesk, Wikileaks started collecting donations in cryptocurrencies in 2017 after its access to traditional funding methods was cut by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
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