Despite calls from UK MPs to Biden to drop Assange charges earlier in the year, London's High Court of Justice ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the US to face espionage and hacking charges. The High Court accepted diplomatic assurances from the US that they would take into consideration the high risk of suicide and mitigate accordingly.
The ruling, which was a reversal of a decision by a Westminster Magistrate's Court senior judge, is a setback for the 50 year old WikiLeaks founder according to his defense lawyer and that Assange would appeal the ruling as soon as possible. The defense lawyer went on to describe the ruling by the High Court as "dangerous and misguided" and a "grave miscarriage of justice" due to mental health conditions that would put him at risk due to potential harsh conditions within US prisons.
The WikiLeaks founders case represents the first time the US Espionage Act 1917 had been used against an individual for publishing and receiving classified information.
The allegations center on numerous documents on WikiLeaks that were leaked by former US Army intelligency analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 and 2011. The documents include the rules of engagement for the Iraq war, as well as the "collateral murder" video that displayed unarmed Iraqi civilians being fired upon by US soldiers while laughing.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said: "Julian's life is once more under grave threat, and so is the right of journalists to publish material that governments and corporations find inconvenient."