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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won his legal battle against being extradited from the UK to face espionage charges — after a judge decided he would likely commit suicide if sent to the US.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that it would be “oppressive” to extradite the 49-year-old Australian because of his mental health as he faced up to 175 years in prison for allegedly hacking into US government computers.
The US government immediately announced that it would appeal the decision.
US prosecutors have indicted Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked military and diplomatic documents a decade ago.
Assange’s lawyers have insisted that he was acting as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing leaked documents that exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With Post wires
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