Extradition of WikiLeaks founder “Julian Assange” to US blocked by UK court

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States to face espionage charges has been blocked by the British court on Monday, finding he was at serious risk of suicide.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faced a UK court ruling on Monday over whether he should be extradited to the United States on espionage charges for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret documents online.

Assange, 49, faces 18 charges in the United States relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said the 49-year-old Australian publisher faced “oppressive” conditions in maximum-security isolation if detained in the US

Outside the Old Bailey court in central London, his supporters who had gathered since early morning erupted in cheers and shouted “Free Assange!”

Assange and his legal team have long argued that the protracted case, which has become a cause celebre for media freedom, was politically motivated.

Monday’s ruling follows more than a decade of legal controversies.

However, the US government has given notice it will challenge the decision, and has two weeks to lodge its grounds to appeal.