LONDON — The British government has approved the extradition of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to the United States to face espionage charges.
Assange now has 14 days to appeal the district judge’s decision and the secretary of state’s decision to order extradition.
Assange has always denied any wrongdoing.
According to a Wikileaks tweet, Assange will appeal through the legal system to the Supreme Court.
“According to the Extradition Act 2003, the Secretary of State must sign an extradition request if there are no grounds to prohibit the request,” the UK Home Office said in a statement following the decision. Secretary once a judge decides he can proceed after considering various aspects of the case. On June 17, after consideration by the Magistrates Court and the Superior Court, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the US. Assange retains the normal 14-day right to appeal.”
According to the UK Home Office, all extradition requests from countries outside Europe are sent to the Westminster Magistrates Court. The court then hears arguments from both sides before making a decision on extradition.
“In this case, the UK courts did not find it oppressive, unfair or an abuse of process to extradite Assange,” the UK Home Office continued. including his right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, and that while in the US he will be treated appropriately, including with regard to his health.”
Assange is wanted in the US for one of the biggest thefts of confidential government information in American history. He was arrested in the UK in April 2019, and just hours later, the US announced charges against him for allegedly conspiring with former intelligence agent Chelsea Manning to gain illegal access to a government computer.
Following his arrest by the London Metropolitan Police in April 2019, the indictment against Assange, originally filed in March 2018, was released and alleged that Assange helped Manning crack a password on a Pentagon computer.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in the crime in 2013. However, her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama as one of his final acts in office in January 2017.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.