Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Yellow ribbons with messages from supporters of Julian Assange are tied to the railings of the Royal Courts of Justice during an appeal hearing for his extradition to the United States on October 27, 2021 in London

Yellow ribbons with messages from supporters of Julian Assange are tied to the railings of the Royal Courts of Justice during an appeal hearing for his extradition to the United States on October 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

UK Top Court Rejects Assange's Request to Appeal Extradition Decision

The decision represents "a blow to Julian Assange and to justice," said one human rights campaigner.

Andrea Germanos

The U.K. Supreme Court on Monday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's request to appeal an earlier decision permitting his extradition to the United States, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents that exposed war crimes.

"The application does not raise an arguable point of law," the court declared.

Assange's supporters say that the case now goes before U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel to authorize the extradition.

The case has sparked global concern from press freedom and human rights groups who warn that prosecution of Assange would have far-reaching impacts on journalists and publishers who dare to challenge powerful governments by exposing their most closely-guarded secrets.

In a statement, Assange's solicitors lamented that the request for appeal was denied, saying that "the court had found that there was a real risk of prohibited treatment in the event of his onward extradition."

The legal team also said that they would be able to submit documents to Patel's office for the next four weeks ahead of her decision and that Assange could still appeal on other grounds.

The high court ruled in December that Assange can be extradited, overturning an earlier ruling by the Westminster Magistrates' Court that found extradition would endanger Assange's life.

In a January statement, Committee to Protect Journalists deputy executive director Robert Mahoney warned that "the prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder in the United States would set a deeply harmful legal precedent that would allow the prosecution of reporters for news gathering activities and must be stopped."

Mahoney, like other defenders of free speech and journalism, additionally called on the U.S. Justice Department to stop the extradition proceedings and drop its charges against Assange.

Responding to Monday's verdict, Amnesty International deputy research director for Europe Julia Hall said the decision represents "a blow to Julian Assange and to justice."

She also rejected as insufficient claims by U.S. officials that Assange's wellbeing would be safeguarded in American custody.

"The ban on torture and other ill-treatment is absolute and empty promises of fair treatment such as those offered by the USA in the Assange case threaten to profoundly undermine that international prohibition," she said.

"The refusal is also bad news for press freedom," said Hall, "since it leaves intact the nefarious route the U.S. has employed to attempt to prosecute publishers for espionage. Demanding that states like the U.K. extradite people for publishing classified information that is in the public interest sets a dangerous precedent and must be rejected. The U.S. should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Nearly 90,000 Small Businesses in US Expected to Close After Senate GOP Kills Main Street Relief Bill

"The fate of these small businesses," said one advocacy group, "will be tied to those senators who voted down this lifeline today."

Julia Conley ·


Documents Show Baby Formula Maker Enriched Shareholders Amid Deadly Bacteria Outbreak

"Abbott chose to prioritize shareholders by issuing billions of dollars in stock buybacks instead of making productive investments," said one economist.

Jake Johnson ·


'She Can Win If We Stand With Her': Sanders to Rally for Cisneros in Texas

"Her opponent, one of the very few anti-choice Democrats in Congress, is funded by over a million dollars in corporate contributions from Big Oil companies," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·


Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo