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U.K. signs U.S. extradition request for Julian Assange

 Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program Thursday he's signed a request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the U.S., where he faces computer hacking charges.

"He’s rightly behind bars because he broke U.K. law. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow."
— British Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Why it matters: Assange has been indicted by the Justice Department on 18 counts for conspiring to hack into a government computer and for violating the Espionage Act — charges that have alarmed journalists and activists who fear a crackdown on First Amendment rights.

Go deeper: Timeline: Julian Assange's 9-year legal limbo reaches its climax