United Kingdom minister signs USA bid to extradite Assange

Nellie Chapman
June 13, 2019

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC on Thursday that he has signed the order and that the courts will decide whether Assange must face charges in the US. The WikiLeaks founder is now lodged in the Belmarsh jail where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

Mr Javid said he signed the order on Wednesday but that the final decision now rested with the courts.

It should be noted that according to a US-UK treaty, the extradition request must be made within 60 days of an arrest.

"I am very pleased the police were finally able to apprehend him and now he's rightfully behind bars because he broke United Kingdom law", British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC radio.

The extradition hearing tomorrow is not expected to.

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

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Assange is now serving a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh Prison in south-east London for bail violations after taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape charges in 2012.

He was dragged from the embassy by British police on April 11 and within hours of his arrest, USA prosecutors said they had charged him with conspiracy in trying to access a classified US government computer.

The US Justice Department has formally requested Britain extradite Assange to the United States, where he faces a maximum 175-year prison sentence.

It emerged last week that plans for an extradition request from Sweden over allegations of sexual attacks in the country had suffered a setback as a Swedish district court ruled against Mr. Assange's detention.

Sweden also seeks him for questioning about an alleged rape, which Mr Assange has denied. It is nearly certain Assange will file an appeal to the High Court after the district judge's ruling, and again (as the law allows) after the Home Secretary's final decision.

The 18 charges reject his claim he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material - which would be protected under press freedom legislation.

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