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UK court orders Julian Assange to be extradited to the US

Julian Assange
Julian Assange.Jack Taylor/Getty Images
  • A UK court formally approved Julian Assange's extradition to the US.

  • The Wikileaks founder faces hacking and espionage charges in the US, among others.

  • The extradition decision now lies with the UK government, though Assange can still appeal.

A judge at the UK's Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled on Wednesday for Julian Assange to be extradited to the US, the Associated Press and CNN reported.

Assange faces 18 charges in the US, where he is accused him of conspiring to hack government computers and breaching the Espionage Act when WikiLeaks published a trove of confidential military and diplomatic documents in 2010. He faces up to 175 years in prison if he is convicted.

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The decision on whether to extradite Assange now lies with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. But Assange can still appeal Wednesday's decision again, CNN and the Associated Press reported.

The High Court in London ruled in January that Assange could appeal an earlier court ruling that he can be extradited to the US, but the UK Supreme Court refused to hear his case in March.

A summary of that earlier ruling said the US had assured the UK that Assange would "receive appropriate clinical psychological treatment" in the US. The US also said it would let Assange serve his sentence in Australia, his home country, if he asks to do so.

Human-rights groups say Assange should not be criminalized for sharing information in the public interest, and that he would not be safe in the US.

Assange watched the court proceedings on Wednesday from the UK's Belmarsh prison, where he is currently held, the Associated Press reported.

Assange was living for years in Ecuador's embassy in London as an asylum seeker. He taken to prison in the UK when Ecuador withdrew its protection of him in April 2019, and the police dragged him out of the embassy.

The US then requested to extradite him.

Read the original article on Business Insider