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US promises Assange, if extradited, can serve time in Australia

“The United States has also provided an assurance that the United States will consent to Mr Assange being transferred to Australia to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him,” the summary said.

On January 19, in one of its last acts, the Trump administration filed an appeal. Soon after taking office, the Biden administration pressed forward.

No hearing date for the appeal has been set. The Crown Prosecution Service and the Justice Department declined to comment.

In a statement, Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée, urged the Biden administration to instead drop the extradition request and abandon the charges, which she portrayed as a threat to the United States’ First Amendment press freedoms.

Julian Assange’s partner, Stella Moris speaks to the media outside the High Court in London on Wednesday.

Julian Assange’s partner, Stella Moris speaks to the media outside the High Court in London on Wednesday.Credit:AP

“I am appealing directly to the Biden government to do the right thing, even at this late stage,” she said. “This case should not be dragged out for a moment longer. End this prosecution, protect free speech and let Julian come home to his family.”

The case against Assange is complex and developed over the course of three indictments secured by prosecutors during the Trump administration. It centres on his 2010 publication of diplomatic and military files leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former army intelligence analyst — not on his publication during the 2016 election of Democratic emails stolen by Russia.

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Prosecutors have made two sets of accusations. One is that Assange participated in a criminal hacking conspiracy, both by offering to help Manning mask her tracks on a secure computer network and by engaging in a broader effort to encourage hackers to obtain secret material and send it to WikiLeaks. The other is that his soliciting and publishing information the government had deemed secret violated the Espionage Act.

While hacking is not a journalistic act, the second set of charges has alarmed press-freedom advocates because it could establish a precedent that such journalistic-style activities may be treated as a crime in the United States — a separate question from whether Assange himself counts as a journalist.

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