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The UK Government Has Approved Julian Assange’s Extradition to the United States

The British government has ordered Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, to be extradited to the United States to face spying charges. He’ll almost certainly file an appeal.

The extradition order was signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday, according to her department. It comes after a British court ruled in April that Assange might be extradited to the United States.

“The UK courts have not found that extraditing Mr. Assange would be repressive, unjust, or an abuse of process,” the Home Office said in a statement.

“Neither have they determined that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, such as his right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, or that he would be treated adequately in the United States, including in terms of his health.”

The ruling represents a watershed moment in Assange’s years-long fight to avoid being prosecuted in the United States, but it is far from the conclusion of the story. Assange has 14 days to appeal the decision.

In April, a British judge approved the extradition, leaving the government to make the final decision. The decision came after a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.


The US has requested that Assange be extradited to the United States so that he might face charges of espionage and computer misuse stemming from WikiLeaks’ publishing of a massive trove of confidential data more than a decade ago.

According to American prosecutors, Assange illegally assisted Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, in stealing classified diplomatic cables and military files, which WikiLeaks later published, endangering lives.

Human rights organisations and journalism organisations have urged Britain to reject the extradition request.

Supporters and lawyers for Assange, 50, claim that he was operating as a journalist when he published papers that showed US military misbehaviour in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he is entitled to First Amendment freedom of speech rights. They claim that his lawsuit is driven by politics.

If Assange is convicted in the United States, his lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison, though American authorities have said any sentence is likely to be far less.

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Since 2019, when he was detained for skipping bail during a separate legal struggle, Assange has been held at Britain’s high-security Belmarsh Prison in London. He had previously spent seven years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, attempting to evade extradition to Sweden, where he was accused of rape and sexual abuse.

Because so much time had passed, Sweden decided to end its sex crimes inquiry in November 2019.

According to American authorities, Assange aided Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, in illegally stealing confidential diplomatic cables and military data, which WikiLeaks eventually released, putting people’s lives in jeopardy.

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