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London, 4 Jan (EFE).
A British court on Monday rejected the extradition to the United States of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accused by that country of alleged espionage and computer intrusion, on the grounds that it would be detrimental to his mental health.
In issuing her ruling in the London criminal court of Old Bailey, Judge Vanessa Baraitser considered it “demonstrated” that the 49-year-old Australian presents a risk of suicide and could take his own life if prosecuted in the United States, where he would probably be held in harsh conditions of confinement.
The British Attorney General’s Office, representing the U.S. justice system, has already indicated that it will appeal the ruling, so the trial judge will soon have to decide whether to leave Assange in custody for the duration of the new legal process or to release him.
Baraitser has postponed the session for a few minutes, while the defense speaks with the defendant, who is present in the courtroom, dressed in a dark suit and wearing a mask.
The British judge denied the extradition of the computer scientist on health grounds after previously rejecting the rest of the arguments presented by the defense to justify their refusal to surrender.
For example, the judge dismissed the claim by Assange’s lawyers that the charges against him were “politically motivated” and that he would not get a fair trial in that country.
The United States aims to prosecute Assange for 17 offenses under its espionage law and one under the computer fraud and abuse law, mainly for the release in 2010 and 2011 (although it now extends the period from 2007 to 2015) of military records and other confidential documents.