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June 14, 2019

UK home secretary says he signed US extradition order for Assange

Top Story

June 14, 2019

LONDON: British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has revealed he has signed a request for WikiLeaks fame Swedish journalist Julian Assange to be extradited to the US where he faces charges of computer hacking.

Speaking to a media outlet on Thursday, the home secretary said: “He’s rightly behind bars. 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.”

Javid’s decision opens the way to the court sending the WikiLeaks founder to the US. Assange faces an 18-count indictment, issued by the US Department of Justice, that includes charges under the Espionage Act. He is accused of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring to hack into a government computer.

Javid said: “It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”

The 47-year-old Australian was too ill to appear last month at a hearing at Westminster magistrates court in relation to the US request. The hearing has been rescheduled for Friday, and depending on Assange’s condition, may take place at Belmarsh prison where he is being held.

Javid’s decision follows news last week that an attempt to extradite Assange to Sweden had had a setback after a court in Uppsala said he did not need to be detained. The ruling by the district court prevented Swedish prosecutors from applying immediately for an extradition warrant for Assange to face an allegation of rape dating back to 2010. Assange denies the accusation.

Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail after he spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London attempting to avoid extradition to Sweden.

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