Source: Joe Martino

In Brief

  • The Facts:A UK Judge ruled that given WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange’s mental health, she will not have him extradited to the US as his mental health may suffer further.
  • Reflect On:It’s important to note that the Judge did not recognize the function of journalism in Assange’s actions, she only decided in his favour based on his mental health.

A decision that will come as a shock to many given most thought it was ‘over’ for Assange, British Judge Vanessa Baraitser decided not to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the US, where he would face espionage charges, due to his mental health. Assange is charged with 18 counts of conspiring to hack a US government computer and the publication of confidential military records pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including the infamous 2007 Apache helicopter incident in Baghdad that saw US soldiers kill a dozen people including two Reuters journalists.

According to the Judge’s decision, she feels freedom of speech rights don’t allow for Assange to have “unfettered discretion to decide what he’s going to publish,” but he appears to be in extremely poor mental health and for that reason alone he won’t be extradited. Judge Baraitser believes Assange would have been given all legal and constitutional protections in the US but felt that given the conditions of a likely supermax US prison, Assange’s mental health would suffer even more, putting his life at risk.

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