UK Interior Minister Signs US Bid To Extradite Julian Assange

Erika Holt
June 14, 2019

Assange, 47, faces indictment on 18 counts in the United States, including charges under the Espionage Act and for computer hacking.

"The Home Secretary must certify a valid request for extradition ... unless certain narrow exceptions in section 70 of the Extradition Act 2003 apply", a Home Office spokesman said in a statement.

"I'm very pleased that the police were finally able to apprehend him and now he's rightly behind bars because he broke United Kingdom law", Javid told BBC radio.

"There is an extradition request from the USA 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", he added.

Assange's lawyers are expected to challenge Javid's decision, paving the way for a lengthy appeal process through British courts.

Javid said that part of his role to sign all legitimate extradition requests, but Assange's fate was largely out of his hands.

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Swedish prosecutors had dropped their rape investigation in 2017 but reopened it after Ecuador withdrew its offer of asylum to Mr. Assange in April this year and allowed Scotland Yard to arrest him.

When Assange fled to the Ecuadorean embassy, he said he feared he would be ultimately extradited to the United States where he had caused anger by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

Assange is now being held in Belmarsh Prison in London and is serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012. "But the final decision is now with the courts".

Manning, who spent seven years in a military prison for delivering a trove of classified information to Assange before having her sentence commuted by then-President Barack Obama, has been jailed for civil contempt in Virginia after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

The U.S. will detail all charges against Assange on Friday, when it seeks his extradition in a London court.

However, the ruling does not mean the preliminary rape investigation must be abandoned, only that Assange won't be extradited to Sweden for now. Javid is Muslim, though he insists he doesn't know why he wasn't invited to the recent US -focused events in Britain.

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