Jun 17, 2022 - World

U.K. government approves Julian Assange extradition order

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Ecuador's embassy in London in May 2017.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy in London in May 2017. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The British government on Friday approved an extradition order to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to American authorities.

Why it matters: The decision brings the decadelong legal fight over Assange's extradition closer to an end — but WikiLeaks said it would appeal and has 14 days to do so.

  • Assange, currently being held at the Belmarsh prison in London, was arrested in 2019 when he left Ecuador's embassy in the U.K. after a seven-year stay there.

Driving the news: U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the order after a court in April approved Assange's extradition.

  • Assange faces charges in the U.S. of violating the 1917 Espionage Act and hacking government computers over WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents.

What they're saying: The Home Office said in a statement that "courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange."

  • "Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health," it added.

WikiLeaks said in a statement that it plans to appeal the decision.

  • "The path to Julian's freedom is long and torturous," it said.
  • "Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the legal system, the next appeal will be before the High Court."
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