US Justice Dept. Declines to Comment on UK Court's Ruling to Extradite Julian Assange
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Justice Department has declined Sputnik’s request for a comment regarding the London court’s decision to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States.
"We decline to comment," the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the UK Westminster Magistrate's Court ordered Assange to be extradited to the United States, where he is facing a possible sentence of up to 175 years in prison.
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said the UK court effectively signed Assange’s death sentence. He also said Assange’s fate now is in hands of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The WikiLeaks founder has been detained in Britain’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison in southeast London since October 2020, after serving an 11-month sentence for breaking bail conditions.
In 2012, instead of appearing in court as his bail conditions demanded, Assange sought shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remained until 2019 over concerns that he might otherwise end up extradited to the United States.
In December, the London High Court ruled in favor of the US appeal to extradite Assange, overturning an earlier decision that the Australian journalist cannot be extradited to the United States due to health issues and the inhumane treatment and conditions he might face in the US prison system.
Assange is wanted by the US government on espionage charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified documents that shed light on the atrocities committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.