UK judge to give Assange’s U.S. extradition verdict early next year

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain

A British judge said on Thursday she would give her decision early next year on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States to face charges including espionage.

The U.S. authorities accuse Australian-born Assange, 49, of conspiring to hack government computers and of violating an espionage law in connection with the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser told London’s Old Bailey Court at the conclusion of hearings from witnesses in the case that she would deliver her verdict on Jan. 4.

Assange’s lawyers argue that the charges are politically motivated, that his mental health is at risk, that conditions in U.S. prisons breach Britain’s human rights laws, and that he and his lawyers were spied on while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy.

The legal team representing the United States have countered that many of those arguments are issues which should be addressed in a trial, and have no bearing on extradition.

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