Assange, 49, is charged with 18 counts of conspiring to hack US government computers and the publication of confidential military records, including a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad in which a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists, were killed.
In her ruling Baraitser said that freedom of speech rights do not provide “unfettered discretion by Mr Assange to decide what he’s going to publish”.
However, in a decision which shocked many, including Assange’s own supporters and legal team, Baraitser found that extradition would be oppressive given Assange’s mental health.
While Baraitser said that she felt Assange would be afforded all legal and constitutional protections while on trial in the US, she felt that conditions in the US prison system would exacerbate his already fragile mental health and potentially place his life at undue risk.
“Faced with conditions of near total isolation … I am satisfied that the procedures (outline by U.S. authorities) will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide,” she said.
According to Assange’s legal team, he could face decades behind bars if found guilty of these charges, which also include the release of secret US diplomatic cables. The charges carry a theoretical maximum sentence of 175 years in prison, though prosecutors claim he would face no more than 63 months in jail.