U.K. government approves Julian Assange extradition order
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."