Sajid Javid signs US extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – where he faces up to 175 years in prison for ‘leaking military secrets’
- Julian Assange is currently being held in prison in the UK after skipping bail
- U.S. authorities want to extradite him to stand trial for espionage charges
- British Home Secretary reveals he has signed request made by Washington
- The case will come before court, where Assange will be able to argue against it
A request to extradite Julian Assange from the UK to the U.S. has been signed by the British Home Secretary, it emerged today.
Sajid Javid said he signed the request ahead of court hearing tomorrow, making it increasingly more likely Assange will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial for hacking classified information, than Sweden, where he is being investigated over an alleged sex attack.
Assange is wanted across the Atlantic for what U.S. officials call ‘one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States’.
If found guilty of all the charges against him, the Wikileaks founder could be jailed for 175 years.
An extradition request to take Julian Assange (pictured on his way to prison in April) to the U.S. has been signed by the British Home Secretary, meaning he is one step closer to being sent to the United States for trial for a range of hacking charges
Sajid Javid, pictured pitching to become UK Prime Minister yesterday, has signed the extradition request, which is one more step along the road to sending Assange to the U.S.
Mr Javid told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘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.
He added: ‘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.’
Assange declined a chance to consent to his extradition, suggesting his lawyers will argue against it when it comes before a court.
The 47-year-old is currently being held in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison after he was jailed for 50 weeks by a UK court for breaching his bail by hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy.
In the U.S., he faces an 18-count indictment including charges of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to crack a Defense Department computer password.
Assange has insisted he was ‘doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many, many people’.
Ten days ago, a court in Sweden rejected a request by the country’s prosecutors that Assange be ‘detained in absentia’ during an investigation into an alleged rape.
The ruling doesn’t mean Sweden preliminary rape investigation will be abandoned, only that Assange won’t be extradited to Sweden for now.
Swedish officials are understood to be keen to question Assange in jail in Britain. He denies the alleged sex attack.
On Monday, Assange was today visited by his Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (left) and his father John Shipton (right) at HMP Belmarsh in London
US actress Pamela Anderson also visited Assange at the high-security jail on May 7
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