London: The United Kingdom government on Friday gave the go-ahead for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States to face charges over the alleged leak of classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel gave the requisite ministerial sign-off for the 50-year-old Australian national's extradition order after several stages of court appeals right up to the Supreme Court. However, a counter appeal by Assange's legal team is expected to restart another round of legal battle.
“On 17 June, following consideration by both the magistrates court and High Court, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the US was ordered. Mr. Assange retains the normal 14-day right to appeal,” a UK Home Office spokesperson said.
“Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Secretary of State must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the home secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case,” the spokesperson said. “In this case, the UK 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,” the spokesperson added. Assange has denied any wrongdoing all along.—PTI