A British judge ruled on Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, one of the world’s most high-profile whistleblowers, will not be extradited to the U.S.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser said extradition would be oppressive due to Assange’s mental health.
“The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future,” Baraitser wrote in her ruling. “For all of these reasons I find that Mr. Assange’s risk of committing suicide, if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial.”
Assange is wanted in the U.S. over the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011. He is wanted on 18 charges, 17 of which fall under the U.S. Espionage Act.
His health has deteriorated while being held in a U.K. prison.
The U.S. has specifically accused him of conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to decipher a password known as “hash” in order to access a classified U.S. Department of Defense computer and expose military secrets.
Assange’s supporters argue that the U.S. is targeting him for political reasons after his journalism exposed alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as human rights abuses.