WikiLeaks founder had urged the British Supreme Court to allow him to appeal High Court ruling to extradite him to the United States, where he is facing a trial on 18 criminal charges including breaking a spying law.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held at Britain's high-security Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held at Britain's high-security Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle. (Reuters)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been denied permission to appeal at the Supreme Court against a decision to extradite him to the United States.

"The application has been refused by the Supreme Court and the reason given is that application did not raise an arguable point of law," a Supreme Court spokesperson said on Monday.

US authorities want Australian-born Assange, 50 to face trial on 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks' release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables which they said had put lives in danger.

In December, the High Court in London overturned a lower court's ruling that he should not be extradited because his mental health problems meant he would be at risk of suicide.

High Court judges then refused him permission for a direct appeal to the Supreme Court on their decision, leaving the decision with the Supreme Court itself over whether to hear his challenge.

The extradition decision will now need to be ratified by interior minister Priti Patel, after which Assange can try to challenge the decision by judicial review. A judicial review involves a judge examining the legitimacy of a public body's decision.

READ MORE: What’s at stake if Julian Assange is convicted?

175 years in prison

Earlier this year a project called AssangeDAO, launched to support Julian Assange’s legal case and managed to raise over $55 million.

The collective, a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) – or people pursuing a common interest without any central authority – began mobilising on December 10, the day that the US government won its appeal over a British court ruling that barred Assange’s extradition to the US.

Supporters and lawyers for Assange argue that he was acting as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing documents that exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

They argue that his case is politically motivated.

If convicted, Assange's lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in jail in the US, though American authorities have said the sentence was likely to be much lower than that.

READ MORE: Is Julian Assange destined to die in a US prison?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies