Britain signs US extradition order for WikiLeaks founder Assange

NICKED Assange was arrested last month after seven years holed up in the Ecuador embassy

NICKED Assange was arrested last month after seven years holed up in the Ecuador embassy

On Thursday, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he has signed an order following a request from the USA government to extradite Assange to face espionage and hacking charges.

Assange faces a litany of charges in the US, including one count of conspiring with Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst and whistleblower, to gain access to the US Pentagon network.

"He's rightly behind bars", Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today show. It is nearly certain Assange will file an appeal to the High Court after the district judge's ruling, and again (as the law allows) after the Home Secretary's final decision. Sweden also seeks him for questioning about an alleged rape, which Assange has denied.

The Home Secretary said this morning: "The final decision is now with the courts".

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The UK's interior minister has certified an extradition order that would send Julian Assange to the U.S. on espionage charges - but the final decision on the embattled WikiLeaks founder rests with the courts.

Mr Assange is now serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012 and fleeing to the Ecuadorean embassy, where he stayed for almost seven years.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Southwark Crown Court after being sentenced in London, Britain, May 1, 2019.

Assange has insisted he was "doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many, many people".

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It also published thousands of entirely unredacted USA diplomatic cables, exposing the nation's foreign policy workings and causing it severe embarrassment in the process. "I want to see justice done and we have a legitimate extradition request".

The 47-year-old had been sheltering in Ecuador's embassy in London for seven years until his arrest on April 11 when Quito finally withdrew his asylum.

In Assange's case, this took place on Tuesday, when the USA authorities sent a formal request to Sajid Javid. Since he feared that Sweden might extradite him to the U.S., he took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in the United Kingdom which was extended to him by the then President Rafael Correa. That case has been dropped, but he now faces 18 charges relating to publishing secret material from U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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