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Julian Assange, Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England.Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States has been postponed by the U.K. High Court once more. The journalist may also be granted another appeal hearing under certain conditions.

The High Court in London ruled today that Assange’s case will adjourned until May 20.

In the written judgment, Victoria Sharp, president of the King’s Bench Division, said: “Before making a final decision on the application for leave to appeal, we will give the respondent an opportunity to give assurances.

“If assurances are not given then we will grant leave to appeal without a further hearing.”

“If assurances are given then we will give the parties an opportunity to make further submissions before we make a final decision on the application for leave to appeal,” she explained.

The U.S. government will have to provide “satisfactory assurances” that “Mr. Assange is permitted to rely on First Amendment to the United States (which protects free speech), that he is not prejudiced at trial (including sentence) by reason of his nationality… and that the death penalty is not imposed.”

If the U.S. government can provide these assurances by April 16, Assange may be extradited to the U.S. without the possibility of having another appeal hearing in court.

Commenting on the court’s decision, the official X (formerly Twitter) account of WikiLeaks, the platform Assange founded, shared a statement by Amnesty International human rights expert Julia Hall, who said in 2021 that US diplomatic assurances “are inherently unreliable.”

READ: Julian Assange’s show trial could determine the future of press freedom in the West

In a two-day hearing last month, Assange’s legal team argued that the extradition order by the U.S. was unlawful because it was politically motivated. A treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition in cases of political offenses.

The Australian journalist faces in the U.S. 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse related to the publication of millions of classified documents by WikiLeaks. They could result in life imprisonment for Assange.

Assange’s legal battle has been going on since 2010, when WikiLeaks published classified documents regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including a video that showed a U.S. military helicopter killing several civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in Baghdad, Iraq. From 2012 to 2019, Assange lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London under asylum status. After he was arrested by Metropolitan police in 2019 under an extradition warrant from the U.S. government, Assange was imprisoned at Belmarsh, a high-security prison close to London, where he has been held in solitary confinement ever since.

Assange was not present at today’s court decision and did not watch the hearing via video due to his poor health, according to his lawyers.

In January, Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s attorneys, said that the award-winning journalist would be at risk of suicide if he were extradited to the U.S. because of his mental state, as the 13 years of detainment, first in the Ecuadorian embassy and now in Belmarsh, had taken its toll on him.

READ: Julian Assange’s show trial could determine the future of press freedom in the West

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