Two protesters hold up a sign that says

Enlarge / Supporters of Julian Assange protest in front of the US Embassy in Rome, Italy on September 7, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | Stefano Montesi – Corbis)

A British judge today rejected the US’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying that Assange would be at greater risk of suicide in the American prison system.

“I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder. I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” District Judge Vanessa Baraitser wrote in the ruling.

While Assange had “no episodes of self-harming behaviour or suicide attempts during his period of imprisonment at Belmarsh,” a prison in London, Baraitser wrote that Assange’s mental health would deteriorate “if he is subjected to the extreme conditions of SAMs,” the “special administrative measures” used by the US to protect national security information. Baraitser wrote:

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