WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the US, the High Court has ruled.
Assange, 50, is wanted in America over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
US authorities brought a High Court challenge against a January ruling by then-district judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange should not be sent to the US, in which she cited a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide.
After a two-day hearing in October, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, ruled in favour of the US on Friday.
The senior judges found that the judge had based her decision on the risk of Assange being held in highly restrictive prison conditions if extradited.
However, the US authorities later gave assurances that Assange would not face those strictest measures either pre-trial or post-conviction unless he committed an act in the future that required them.
Lord Burnett said: “That risk is in our judgment excluded by the assurances which are offered. It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently.”
He added: “That conclusion is sufficient to determine this appeal in the USA’s favour.”
The judges ordered that the case must return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to formally send it to Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris called the ruling “dangerous and misguided” and said they intended to appeal.
During October’s hearing, James Lewis QC, for the US, said that the “binding” diplomatic assurances made were a “solemn matter” and “are not dished out like smarties”.
The assurances included that Assange would not be submitted to special administrative measures (SAMs) and detained at the ADX Florence Supermax jail if extradited and that he would receive appropriate