On 15th March 2022, the UK Supreme Court refused an application for permission to appeal by Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Mr. Assange is wanted in the US on 17 counts of espionage, and one charge of computer misuse relating to his alleged role in the unauthorised attainment and disclosure of national defence information and computer intrusion, beginning in 2009. Mr. Assange wanted the Supreme Court to review the High Court’s decision last December to accept assurances from the US Government relating to the conditions in which he would be detained in custody if extradited. However, the Supreme Court decided that his application did not raise an arguable point of law.
Following the decision, Mr. Assange’s case will now be remitted to Westminster Magistrate’s Court, per section 92 of the Extradition Act 2003 (‘The Act’) and be sent to the Home Secretary for a final order. If Assange’s extradition is ordered, he will have the opportunity to appeal the matter to the High Court, under section 103 of the Act, and will be able to argue on all the points rejected by the District Judge at the original hearing in January 2021.
In Mr. Assange’s case, there were three grounds rejected by the District Judge on which he can now appeal. First, that his extradition was politically motivated and should therefore have failed under section 81 of the Act. Second, that there were ‘extraneous considerations’, and third, that extradition would result in a breach of Assange’s fair trial rights under article 6 of the ECHR, and his right to freedom of expression, article 10.
The Home Secretary now has four weeks to decide on the matter, per section 93 of the Act, and Mr. Assange’s legal team have stated that they will make further representations during this period on his behalf.