Julian Assange extradition appeal: Jeremy Corbyn joins supporters outside High Court

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Assange has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019 and if extradited to the US he could face a prison term of up to 175 years.

Protesters gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice as Julian Assange made his final appeal against his extradition from the UK to the US.

The two-day hearing in the High Court in London will consider whether the Wikileaks founder can be granted leave to appeal against an extradition decision made in 2022 by the then home secretary, Priti Patel.

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The 52–year-old Australian activist is accused of conspiring with US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and releasing a series of disclosed documents and military files.

Assange has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019 and if extradited to the US he could face a prison term of up to 175 years.

On Wednesday morning (February 21) crowds gathered outside in the rain chanting “Free Julian Assange”.

Hundreds of golden ribbons were tied to the gates of the Royal Courts of Justice, with the words “Free Julian Assange” written on them.

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Jeremy Corbyn addresses Julian Assange supporters outside the High CourtJeremy Corbyn addresses Julian Assange supporters outside the High Court
Jeremy Corbyn addresses Julian Assange supporters outside the High Court | Getty Images

“I’m here to support the right to know, I’m here to support journalists speaking out against power and that this man is not deported to the USA where he could face one and a half lifetimes in prison for what, telling the truth,” Mr Corbyn told LondonWorld.

Another supporter from Adelaide in Australia had travelled from France to show her solidarity with the Wikileaks founder.

“I have supported Julian Assange throughout his incarceration and his time in the embassy,” Sue, 67, told LondonWorld.

“I’m Australian and I have been very active in trying to dispel the disinformation by protesting on the streets of my city Adelaide for many years.

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“I’ve been travelling in Europe and I was in France and thought I can’t be this close without coming to be part of this crowd and trying to at least lift Julian’s and his family.”

Sue, 67, joined Julian Assange supportersSue, 67, joined Julian Assange supporters
Sue, 67, joined Julian Assange supporters | Lynn Rusk

In November 2010, Sweden issued a European arrest warrant for Assange, over allegations of raping a woman and molesting another while in the country.

After losing his appeal against the warrant, he breached bail and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in June 2012.

He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 on the grounds of political persecution and fears he might be extradited to the United States.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2019.

He was arrested in 2019 when Ecuador’s government withdrew his asylum status and has been imprisoned in Belmarsh Prison ever since.

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