WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is making his last effort within the UK’s legal framework to avoid extradition to the US.

Assange - a Townsville-born Australian citizen and former resident of Melbourne - has been fighting for more than a decade to avoid extradition to the United States.

US authorities have urged the court to reject Assange's plea for a new appeal, emphasising the gravity of the charges against him. 

Assange's legal team has countered, arguing that the extradition request is a punitive measure for Assange's role in revealing serious misconduct by the US government, including war crimes and violations of human rights.

The charges stem from WikiLeaks' publication of a substantial volume of classified documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, alongside diplomatic communications, between 2010 and 2011. 

Assange's defence highlights the political nature of his activities, claiming that the extradition would breach the UK-US treaty that prohibits extradition for political offences.

Edward Fitzgerald KC, representing Assange, argued this week; "This legally unprecedented prosecution seeks to criminalise the application of ordinary journalistic practices of obtaining and publishing true classified information of the most obvious and important public interest”.

The US response, put forth by James Lewis KC, accuses Assange of serious criminal offences beyond mere publication. The US alleges Assange's involvement in unlawfully obtaining documents with Chelsea Manning and endangering lives by disclosing unredacted names.

Should the UK court rule against Assange, his last resort would involve appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. Meanwhile, the Australian government says it has been actively seeking a diplomatic resolution, but still faced a push by frustrated MPs voting in favour of a motion highlighting “the importance of the UK and USA bringing the matter to a close so that Mr Assange can return home to his family in Australia”.

Amnesty International has voiced strong opposition to the extradition too, warning that it “will establish a dangerous precedent wherein the US government could target publishers and journalists around the world for extradition and prosecution”, according to the organisation's Australia campaigner, Rose Kulak.

Updated coverage is accessible here.