‘Accomplice to US’
WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange on 4 October 2006, rose to prominence in 2010 when it began to publish leaks of classified government information, especially from the US.
Ever since WikiLeaks made public thousands of classified documents that shed light on war crimes committed by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Assange has been wanted by the US for alleged violations of the country’s Espionage Act.
Assange has been on remand at the Belmarsh high-security prison in southeast London since October 2020, after serving an 11-month sentence for breach of bail after staying in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for seven years.
The journalist had entered the building in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex offence allegations which he has always denied. However, in 2019, two years after the Swedish prosecutor dropped the case against Assange, Ecuador revoked his citizenship, greenlighting UK police to enter the embassy to arrest him.
In April, the UK Westminster Magistrate’s Court formally approved the extradition of Assange to the United States. In May, Assange’s defense filed a representation to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to block his extradition. However, on 17 June Priti Patel approved Julian Assange’s extradition to the US to face trial, with WikiLeaks slamming her as an “accomplice to the US’.
The decision to extradite him has been roundly condemned
by several countries, including Russia and China, and a plethora of rights activists. Assange is set to appeal the decision.