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Assange’s team seeks to appeal extradition

FOLLOWING the High Court decision in early December that Julian Assange's extradition to the US can go ahead, his lawyers on 23 December have submitted his application for leave to make his final appeal. If an appeal is heard, it will be at the Supreme Court.

In order to grant leave to appeal, High Court judges have to certify that there is at least one point of law of "general public importance". Points of fact - such as those decided when the High Court overturned an earlier lower court decision that involved an assessment of the suicide risk of his facing prison in the US - are not considered in these proceedings.

Assange's partner Stella Morris told Reuters that his team would raise at least three points of law around "procedural and human rights safeguards".

Assange faces 150 years in prison under the US Espionage Act for his rôle in WikiLeaks revelations of US Embassy communications and the "Pentagon War Logs", which document war crimes by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet described the ruling that Assange could be extradited as "a hammer blow to free expression.".

The High Court judges' decision on whether Assange's appeal should be heard is expected to be announced around the fourth week of January.