Another legal setback for Julian Assange: A judge in London’s High Court rejected two requests for an appeal submitted by Assange’s lawyers, according to court documents made available to the DPA news agency on Friday. This means that extradition to the USA is getting closer again. Assange wanted to appeal both the original court decision on his extradition and the UK government’s extradition order. However, the judge ruled that both applications were inadmissible, according to the documents dated Tuesday.

The risk that the 51-year-old would actually be handed over to the United States is “now more real than ever,” said the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in response to the rejection.

His wife, Stella Assange, wrote on Twitter that the Australian native would make another application to the High Court in the coming week. This will be examined by two judges at a public hearing. “We remain optimistic that we will prevail and Julian will not be extradited to the United States,” she wrote. Otherwise, according to the RSF, the only option would be to go to the European Court of Human Rights. But it is questionable whether a decision there could prevent his extradition.

The legal tug of war over Assange has been going on for years. The US judiciary wants to put him on trial for allegations of espionage. If convicted, he faces up to 175 years in prison. Assange is accused of having stolen and published secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan together with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, thereby endangering the lives of US informants. Supporters see Assange as a journalist who exposed war crimes. Assange has been held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London since his arrest in April 2019.