Julian Assange: what to expect from the extradition appeal | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Julian Assange: what to expect from the extradition appeal

The year began with a legal defeat for an attempt to extradite Julian Assange to face espionage charges in the US, but he has remained in Belmarsh prison pending an appeal.

When it takes place at London’s high court on Wednesday and Thursday, at least three developments over recent months could be potential gamechangers in the long-running battle over the WikiLeaks co-founder’s future.

One of them – a near unprecedented package of assurances from the US that Assange would not be held under the strictest maximum-security conditions and could serve jail time in his native Australia – is likely to be the biggest challenge for his legal team, say experts.

The assurances were put forward this year as part of US attempts to overcome the ruling in January by the district court judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange could not be extradited because of concerns over his mental health and risk of suicide in a US prison.

“What his legal team is likely to do is attempt to undermine and pick holes in those assurances by suggesting that they are not as watertight as they appear,” said Nick Vamos, a partner at Peters & Peters solicitors in London and a former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).