Wikileaks founder files last appeal to escape life sentence in US

Fundador do Wikileaks apresenta último recurso para escapar à perpétua nos EUA

Julian Assange's lawyers today filed the latest legal challenge in the UK to prevent the WikiLeaks founder from being extradited to the United States to face espionage charges.

They argued that his actions exposed serious criminal acts by the US authorities and that he could face a "flagrant denial of justice" if extradited, according to the international press.

Assange himself, a 52-year-old Australian journalist, was not present in court. Judge Victoria Sharp said that he had been granted permission to go to Belmarsh prison, where he has been held for five years, but had chosen not to attend. His state of health is unknown. Stella Assange, who married the WikiLeans founder in prison in 2022, said last week that his health had deteriorated during his years of confinement and that "if he is extradited, he will die".

Assange has been fighting extradition for more than a decade, including seven years of self-exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and the last five years in a high-security prison on the outskirts of the British capital.

Assange has been charged with 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse for publishing classified US documents on his website. US prosecutors claim that Assange helped US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic documents and military dossiers that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.

If the judges rule against Assange, he can ask the European Court of Human Rights to suspend his extradition - although his supporters fear that he could be put on a plane to the US before that happens, because the British government has already signed an extradition order.

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