LONDON (AP) — Britain’s High Court is set to rule Monday on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can take his fight against U.S. extradition to the U.K. Supreme Court.
The decision is the latest step in Assange’s long battle to avoid being sent to the United States to face espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents more than a decade ago.
Just over a year ago, a district court judge in London rejected a U.S. extradition request on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions.
U.S. authorities later provided assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would not face the severely restrictive conditions that his lawyers said would put his physical and mental health at risk.
Last month the High Court overturned the lower court’s decision. High Court justices Ian Burnett and Timothy Holroyd said the American promises were enough to guarantee Assange would be treated humanely.
They said the U.S. promises were “solemn undertakings, offered by one government to another, which will bind all officials and prosecutors who will deal with the relevant aspects of Mr. Assange’s case now and in the future.”
Assange’s lawyers say those promises can’t be trusted, and have sought permission to appeal to Britain’s highest court. They argue that the U.S. government’s pledge that Assange won’t be subjected to extreme conditions is meaningless because it is conditional and could be changed at the discretion of American authorities.