Assange Lawyers Say US Extradition Should Be Blocked Under Bilateral Treaty

Attorneys for Julian Assange will fight a U.S. extradition request by reasoning it should be blocked under a bilateral treaty, a lawyer for the WikiLeaks publisher said Thursday.

Defense lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said during a hearing held at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Mr. Assange’s legal team will argue that a treaty in place between the U.K. and U.S. prohibits individuals from being extradited from one nation to the other for political offenses, multiple British media outlets reported.

“We say that there is in the treaty a ban on being extradited for a political offense and these offenses as framed and in substance are political offenses,” Mr. Fitzgerald told the court, according to Reuters.

A treaty entered into force between the U.S. and U.K. governments in 2007 states that extradition “shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.”

Mr. Assange, an Australian, has been jailed in London since April in connection with criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors in the U.S. related to his WikiLeaks website.

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