Julien Assange to be extradited to the United States

Julien Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, should be extradited to the United States to face criminal espionage charges, according to the UK government. It has been a long-running legal battle in the UK, with Assange first living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a decade seeking political asylum. He was forcibly removed and has been in the custody of the UK authorities ever since.

Read: Amazon to take aim at Takealot with online marketplace in SA

It has been a series of legal battles, with Assange losing each one along the way as he tried to avoid being taken to the United States to stand trial. Many believe he is a hero for setting up an anonymous whistleblower website like WikiLeaks, where atrocities perpetrated by governments around the world can be brought to public light. Others, including the US government, see him as a spy divulging state secrets to their enemies.

Here is a great video explaining the entire situation if you are not up to date with the Assange saga:

There have been concerns about US jail conditions, where Assange would need to remain until his trial date, which the UK judge took into consideration. The judge accepted US assurances over jail conditions, with him claiming it is already bad enough at the Belmarsh prison where he is currently being held.

“The UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange,” a spokesman for the home office said in a statement.

Assange was also facing charges of sexual assault in Sweden, which has now been dropped. The US won’t drop their case, though, wanting to make an example of him. The government were caught with pie on their face thanks to Edward Snowden, who is still in hiding Russia after his massive leaks of US surveillance on its population.

Assange’s lawyers have previously indicated he has appeal options “including questions of free speech and on the political motivations of the US request”.