Won't extradite Assange where he could face death penalty: UK Minister

Julian Assange is facing charges by US Justice Department of violating Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into classified govt document.

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be extradited to any country where he could face capital punishment, UK Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Ducan has reaffirmed.

At a joint press conference with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia, Ducan said that the UK is "concerned" about Assange's health and has prepared a relevant agreement on his extradition, reported Sputnik news agency.

It may be recalled that back in April, Ducan had said that the UK would not extradite the Australian whistleblower to the US if he faces the possibility of the death penalty there.

"It is our broad policy in all circumstances, so it equally applies to Julian Assange, that he will not be extradited if he is going to face the death penalty. So that will apply to him", Ducan had told Sky News.

47-year-old Assange is facing charges by the US Justice Department of violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a classified government document. If the charges are proven, Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years in the US.

The US prosecutors initially charged Assange with a single count of computer intrusion, but last month added 17 new counts, including controversial charges under the Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving and publishing national defence information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Assange is currently serving 50 weeks imprisonment sentence in UK's Belmarsh prison for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden over sexual assault allegations. The Australian whistleblower has denied the allegations against him, asserting that they were politically motivated.

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