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US appeal of Assange extradition decision ‘not unexpected’

A UK court is allowing the US to appeal a decision denying the extradition of Julian Assange after a judge refused the request in January.

Mr Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson says the appeal is “not unexpected” after the ruling at the beginning of the year but the likelihood it will be granted is unknown.

“We won the extradition challenge back in January, the judge found that his extradition would be oppressive because of his mental health and the prison conditions he would face if was extradited to the United States,” she told Sky News.

“In the case, the United States had plenty of time to give assurances about those prison conditions but refused to give them and on that basis, if extradited, Julian would have been sent and placed under special administrative measures.”

Ms Robinson said the special administrative measures were the harshest penalty in the US prison system and said the appeal was not granted on the basis of the prison conditions or Mr Assange’s mental health.

Instead the appeal is focussed on the legal test applied and whether the assurances given by the US can “remedy the problem” of the prison conditions.

“It is not unexpected, the hearing will go before the High Court sometime later this year and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.”

“This case cannot be allowed to drag on and it’s time for the Australian government to take measures and ask the United States to drop this case.”

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