Julian Assange granted permission to appeal against extradition to US

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Julian Assange has been handed a reprieve in his fight against extradition to the US after two judges granted the WikiLeaks founder permission to appeal against his removal from the UK but only if the UK and US are unable to provide the court with suitable assurances.

If Assange had been denied permission to appeal he could have been extradited within days to face espionage charges in the US.

At a two-day hearing, his lawyers argued that the charges, which relate to the publication by Assange and WikiLeaks of thousands of classified and diplomatic documents linked to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, were politically motivated and that the extradition request was unlawful.

Two judges at the high court in London, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson, decided that the lawyers had shown that Assange had an arguable case and should be given the opportunity to make it at a full appeal hearing in May.

But that hearing will only take place if the UK and US cannot provide assurances on the issues on which leave to appeal has been provisionally granted.

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