Judges in Britain will rule Tuesday on whether Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be extradited to the U.S. or if he will be allowed to appeal his extradition.

Two senior judges on the British High Court will decide Assange’s fate on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. GMT, or 6:30 a.m. ET. A full appeal hearing could come if the High Court rules in Assange’s favor on Tuesday but, if he loses this appeal, his remaining options would be limited.

“This is it. DECISION TOMORROW,” Assange’s wife Stella wrote on X.

Assange, 52, is facing espionage charges for publishing classified U.S. military documents 14 years ago but has not yet been tried in a U.S. courtroom as he fled the country. 

JULIAN ASSANGE’S US EXTRADITION HEARING WRAPS UP IN LONDON, DECISION NOT EXPECTED UNTIL AT LEAST NEXT MONTH

Tuesday’s ruling follows a two-day hearing last month, which may have been Assange’s final appeal attempting to block his extradition to the U.S.

Should the court disallow a full appeal, Assange could then make a last request before the European Court of Human Rights. His supporters fear, however, an unfavorable result Tuesday would result in his extradition.

Assange would then face trial in Alexandria, Virginia, as he is facing 17 charges for allegedly receiving, possessing and communicating classified information to the public under the Espionage Act, and one charge alleging a conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in an American maximum-security prison. 

The charges were brought by the Trump administration’s Justice Department over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of cables leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning detailing alleged war crimes committed by the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp. The materials also exposed instances of the CIA engaging in torture and rendition.

He has been held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11, 2019. 

A U.K. District Judge rejected the U.S. extradition request in 2021 over possible self-harm concerns if Assange was held in U.S. prisons. 

Higher courts later overturned that decision after receiving assurances from the U.S. about his treatment, and the British government signed an extradition order in June 2022.

UK HIGH COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN ASSANGE’S US EXTRADITION CASE WITHOUT HIM PRESENT DUE TO HEALTH REASONS

U.S. prosecutors argued at last month’s hearing that Assange put innocent lives at risk by publishing the materials and went beyond journalism in his efforts to obtain and publish classified U.S. government documents. They claimed Assange encouraged and helped Manning steal military and diplomatic files that WikiLeaks later published, and that doing so jeopardized lives.

They did not provide evidence that WikiLeaks put anyone in danger by publishing the documents. It is also a common practice for journalists to ask a source to provide additional documents or materials.

The Obama administration in 2013 decided not to indict Assange over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of classified cables because it would have had to also indict journalists from major news outlets who published the same materials. Former President Obama also commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence for violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses to seven years in January 2017, and Manning, who had been imprisoned since 2010, was released later that year.

But the Justice Department under former President Trump later moved to indict Assange under the Espionage Act, and the Biden administration has continued to pursue his prosecution.

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The CIA was also revealed to have spied on Assange and his lawyers. A judge recently ruled that a lawsuit brought against the CIA for spying on his visitors can move forward.

No publisher had been charged under the Espionage Act until Assange, and many press freedom groups have said his prosecution sets a dangerous precedent intended to criminalize journalism.

Last week, Assange’s U.S. lawyer said his legal team saw no indication of a resolution to the case against him following a report that the U.S. Justice Department was considering allowing him to plead guilty to a reduced charge.

Reuters contributed to this report.