Why Wikileaks’ Julian Assange faces US extradition demand

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Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has won the right to appeal against being extradited to the United States. The US wants him to face charges for revealing military secrets. This decision means Assange’s lawyers can now challenge the promises made by the US about how his trial would be handled.

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange is best known as the founder of WikiLeaks, a website that publishes classified documents. His journey to this role began in his teenage years when he became known for his skills in computer programming.

In 1995, Assange was fined for hacking offenses in Australia, his home country. However, he didn’t go to prison because he promised not to hack again.

What is WikiLeaks?

Assange started WikiLeaks in 2006. The website claims to have published over 100 million documents, many of which are confidential or restricted government reports. These documents often relate to war, spying, and corruption.

Major Releases by WikiLeaks

One of the most significant releases by WikiLeaks happened in 2010. The site published a video taken from a US military helicopter. This video showed civilians being killed in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

Around the same time, WikiLeaks also published thousands of confidential documents provided by Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst. These documents revealed that the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents during the war in Afghanistan.

The Legal Battle

Assange has been fighting legal battles for years. The most pressing issue now is the US’s attempt to extradite him. The US government accuses Assange of helping to hack military computers and releasing sensitive military information. If extradited and found guilty, Assange could face many years in prison.

Recent Developments

Recently, Assange won the right to appeal against his extradition to the US. This means his lawyers can now challenge the assurances made by the US about the conditions of his trial. They argue that the US might not provide a fair trial or treat him humanely in prison.

Background of Assange

Assange’s early life was marked by a deep interest in computers. This interest led him down the path of hacking. Although he faced legal trouble for his hacking activities, he managed to avoid prison by promising to stop.

In 2006, Assange founded WikiLeaks. The website quickly gained fame for publishing a vast number of secret documents. These publications have had a significant impact on global politics and have often sparked controversy.

The Impact of WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks’ publication of confidential documents has led to widespread discussions about government transparency and privacy. The 2010 release of the Baghdad video, for example, led to a global outcry over the actions of the US military. Similarly, the documents provided by Chelsea Manning revealed many previously unknown aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Controversies and Challenges

While WikiLeaks has been praised for promoting transparency, it has also faced significant criticism. Many governments and organizations argue that the release of classified information can endanger lives and national security. Assange, in particular, has been a polarizing figure. Some view him as a hero fighting for truth and transparency, while others see him as a criminal who has endangered lives.

Assange’s Life in Asylum

In 2012, facing extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault (which he denied and later were dropped), Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He stayed there for nearly seven years. During this time, he continued to lead WikiLeaks and remained a vocal advocate for transparency.

In 2019, Assange was forcibly removed from the embassy by British police. He was then imprisoned in the UK for breaching bail conditions. Since then, he has been fighting extradition to the US.

Health and Legal Concerns

Assange’s health has been a significant concern throughout his legal battles. His supporters argue that his health has deteriorated significantly during his time in asylum and imprisonment. They fear that extradition to the US could further harm his physical and mental well-being.

The Future of WikiLeaks

Despite the legal challenges faced by Assange, WikiLeaks continues to operate. The organization remains committed to publishing classified documents and advocating for government transparency. However, the future of WikiLeaks is uncertain, especially with its founder facing possible extradition and imprisonment.

Conclusion

Julian Assange’s story is complex and controversial. As the founder of WikiLeaks, he has played a significant role in revealing hidden truths about governments and military operations. His work has sparked global debates about transparency, privacy, and the public’s right to know.

The recent decision allowing Assange to appeal against his extradition to the US is just the latest chapter in a long and ongoing legal saga. Whether viewed as a champion of truth or a criminal, Assange’s impact on global politics and the fight for transparency cannot be denied. As his legal battles continue, the world watches closely to see what the future holds for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

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