UK district judge Vanessa Baraitser will deliver on Monday her verdict on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States, where he could face up to 175 years in jail for the publication of classified information on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as thousands of US diplomatic cables between 2010 and 2011.
Assange's extradition trial ended at London's Old Bailey court on October 1 after his defense team spent four weeks trying to prove that Assange was being indicted for political reasons.
Although the judge presiding the hearing will hand over her verdict on his extradition on Monday morning at London's Old Bailey courthouse, UK Home Office Minister Priti Patel will have the final say in case Baraitser grants the request filed by the US.
It is also expected that the losing side will file for an appeal, so the extradition hearings will probably continue for months, even years, to come.
The US Department of Justice is seeking the extradition of Assange on 17 espionage charges and on one count of computer misuse, which carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
The whistleblower has been held in a UK maximum security prison since he was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in April 2019, and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail back in 2012. Although he served the whole sentence a long time ago, the UK court has refused to release him until the extradition case is over.
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