Julian Assange’s fiancée on Tuesday appealed to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to end the “political case” against him, after he was denied permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States.
Monday’s decision brought the long-running legal saga in the UK courts closer to a conclusion, although Assange's lawyers could launch a challenge on a separate point in the case and Conservative Patel must decide whether or not to authorize the extradition.
Washington wants to put the WikiLeaks founder on trial in connection with the publication of 500,000 secret military files relating to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Now the extradition will formally move to a political stage,” Assange’s fiancée, Stella Moris, said in a statement. “Julian’s fate now lies in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel.”
“This is a political case and she can end it,” said Moris, who has two young children with Assange. “It is in her hands to prove that the UK is better than all of this.”
“It takes political courage but that is what it needed to preserve an open society that protects publishers from foreign persecution.”
The case has become a cause celebre for media freedom, with Assange’s supporters accusing Washington of trying to muzzle reporting of legitimate security concerns.
Assange is wanted to face trial for violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010.
He could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty, although the exact sentence is difficult to estimate.
He has been held on remand at a top-security jail in southeast London since 2019. Moris announced at the weekend the couple will marry there on March 23.
The UK authorities have already given permission for the couple to marry at Belmarsh prison, with just four guests and two witnesses -- as well as two security guards -- in attendance.
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