The defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in an attempt to block his extradition from the UK to the US. This was reported by Reuters on Friday.
Assange appealed to London’s High Court in late August against the decision of then-UK Home Office chief Priti Patel to extradite him to the US. The appeal hearing is expected to take place early next year. In parallel, the Australian’s lawyers have launched proceedings before the ECtHR.
“We confirm that the application has been accepted,” the court said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
A UK Home Office spokesman informed on June 17 that Patel had decided to extradite Assange to the United States following a review by both the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the High Court in London. The Kingdom Home Office pointed out that the British courts had not concluded that extraditing Assange would be retaliatory, unfair, or that there would be an unlawful use of the judicial process. WikiLeaks has previously stressed that prosecuting the Australian has always been a political matter.
The 51-year-old Australian has been charged in the US with offences relating to the largest case of disclosure of classified information in US history. He faces a total of 175 years in prison on the charges. Assange has been held in London’s maximum security Belmarsh prison for the past three years. On 28 November, leading Western publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, Le Monde and El País, called on the United States government to drop the charges against Assange.