London’s High Court is allowing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal his extradition to the United States.

Judges this week ruled that the issues raised by Assange’s legal team should be determined by the Court of Appeal. The judges have not yet decided on the merits of these issues but have acknowledged that they are worthy of further scrutiny.

Significantly, the new ruling is the reversal of a previous decision made on March 26, which had been in favour of extradition.

Legal scholars point out that the ruling itself does not guarantee Assange’s safety from extradition but does open the door for further legal examination. 

Assange's legal team argued that he could face a biased trial or even the death penalty if extradited to the United States. 

The High Court had requested written assurances from the Virginia court, where Assange would be tried, that he would be granted the same rights as a US citizen under the First Amendment, which includes protections for free speech and freedom of the press. 

Justice Jeremy Johnson, in his official decision, indicated that if such assurances were provided, both parties would be allowed to make further submissions before a final decision on the appeal application.

The lack of US written assurances appears to have made British judges sceptical about Assange’s potential treatment.

The ruling has been seen by some as a ‘reset’ of the legal game, opening crucial possibilities for Assange. 

Assange has been fighting extradition first from the Ecuadorean embassy in London for seven years and then from Belmarsh maximum-security prison for another five years.

Assange still faces life imprisonment for his role in revealing war crimes and other sensitive information. Many advocates have pointed out a double standard in that media partners who published the same material have not faced similar legal threats.

The charges against Assange stem from his 2010 publication of classified US military documents on WikiLeaks. 

These documents, which were widely reported in Western media, revealed evidence of alleged war crimes by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Assange’s defence has maintained that he acted as a publisher of leaked documents, protected under the First Amendment.

Conversely, the US government has accused Assange of conspiring to steal classified information and endanger US interests, prosecuting him under the 1917 Espionage Act. 

US legal representative James Lewis has stated that the First Amendment does not protect Assange, asserting that no one is entitled to publish illegally obtained national defence information that risks harm to innocent sources.

The fluctuating decisions of British courts on Assange's extradition reflect broader political tensions. 

Some believe that the case could ultimately reach the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, potentially leading to a defence based on European rights.