On Friday, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange to the United States.
Last December, the UK High Court in London ruled that Assange could be extradited from the UK to the US to face espionage charges. Now the Home Office has signed Assange’s extradition order.
In a statement, a Home Office spokesman said: “In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unfair or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. They nor have concluded that extradition would be inconsistent with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, and that while he is in the United States he will be treated appropriately , including with regard to his health.
WikiLeaks responded to the announcement.
In its response, WikiLeaks said that “this is a dark day for press freedom and British democracy. Anyone in this country who cares about free speech should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.
Assange plans to appeal the decision, according to the statement. “Today is not the end of the fight. This is just the start of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the court system, the next appeal will be in the High Court,” reads -we.
WikiLeaks released thousands of classified confidential diplomatic and military documents in 2010 and 2011 related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
US prosecutors said the massive leak endangered hundreds of lives and that Assange was aware of the dangers, prompting a US criminal investigation to prosecute him under the Espionage Act.
If convicted in the United States, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison.
Assange has always denied any wrongdoing. He has been held in the high-security Belmarsh prison since 2019, when he was expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge for years.