London: A British judge on Monday ruled that founder of the WikiLeaks, Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face charges of breaking a spying law and conspiring to hack government computers, reported news agency Reuters.Also Read - UK Court Denies Bail to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
Judge Vanessa Baraitser said she had refused his extradition to the United States because of fears that he could commit suicide. Also Read - 'Free Julian Assange': Fashion Designer-Activist Vivienne Westwood Protests Inside Bird Cage Against Extradition of WikiLeaks Founder to US
US authorities have accused Australian-born Assange, 49, on 18 counts of conspiring to hack government computers and of breaching a secrecy law by releasing vast troves of confidential military records and diplomatic cables over a decade ago. Also Read - Watch: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Recites Aamir Aziz’s ‘Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega’, Calls CAA 'Fascist & Racist'
If extradited and then found guilty of espionage, Assange could go to prison for 30 to 40 years, his lawyers say, though prosecutors say he would face no more than 63 months in jail.
Whoever loses Monday’s ruling is likely to appeal to London’s High Court and the case could go to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, further delaying the final outcome.
US prosecutors and Western security officials see Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, as a reckless and dangerous enemy of the state whose actions put at risk the lives of agents whose names were in the material.
Supporters regard him as an anti-establishment hero who has been victimised because he exposed US wrongdoing in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and say his prosecution is an assault on journalism and free speech.