ABC: A UK court has refused a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. What happens now?

On the 4th January 2020, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the US Extradition Request finding ‘Assange’s precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a U.S. prison’. The on the 5th January 2020, the Australian broadcasting Corporation (ABC) released three articles

Some snippets read

In a ruling that was more than a decade in the making, a UK court has refused a US request that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange be extradited to the United States to face 18 charges, including espionage.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the request on the basis of Assange’s mental condition and risk of suicide.

Why did the judge refuse the extradition order?

Assange’s legal team argued during extradition hearings that the entire case was brought on by pressure from the Trump administration, and that Assange’s extradition would pose a severe threat to press freedom.

But it was only the real risk he would commit suicide if he were held in a US maximum security jail that led Judge Baraitser to reject the extradition request.

Judge Baraitser rejected Assange’s lawyers’ arguments that the case was political and an assault on journalism and freedom of speech, saying there was insufficient evidence that prosecutors had been pressured by Trump’s team and little evidence of hostility from the US President.

If the court ruled in his favour, why isn’t he free?

Assange will have to remain in London’s Belmarsh Prison until at least Wednesday, when a bail application will be made at Westminster Magistrates Court.

US prosecutors have also indicated they would appeal the decision, which could take the matter to London’s High Court and eventually the UK’s Supreme Court, meaning it could drag on for many more months.

“We will continue to seek Mr Assange’s extradition,” a US Department of Justice statement said.

Editors Note: Julian Assange is an unconnected detainee held in oppressive conditions in a maximum security prison for over 20 months. Much of the time was in illegal solitary confinement.

Will Donald Trump grant a pardon?

Julian Assange’s family have begun directly pleading with Trump to issue a pardon before he leaves the White House later this month.

Assange’s fiancée, Stella Morris, made a direct plea to the President after the court’s ruling, fearing US authorities would continue to pursue him.

Editor’s Note: There have been many calls in Twitter for President Trump to pardon Julian. Also many questions asking whether President-elect Joe Biden may drop the proceedings being a remanent excess of the Trump administration