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Bad News for Assange on US Extradition Order

Britain's home secretary signs off on it, and now it's up to the courts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2019 6:00 AM CDT
In this May 1, 2019, file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange puts his fist up as he is taken from court in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

(Newser) – When Julian Assange was arrested in April, he could be heard shouting that the US had no right to demand his extradition. He did not convince British authorities. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Thursday that he has signed off on the US extradition order, reports the Guardian. However, this does not mean that Assange will soon be flown to American shores. Instead, Javid's move formally puts the decision into the hands of a UK court. A hearing as part of the process is scheduled to take place Friday, though a quick resolution isn't expected—one extradition attorney thinks that could be "many months" away, and that appeals could follow.

Assange is currently in jail because he skipped bail to avoid being extradited to Sweden on sex-assault charges, opting instead to hole up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years. Sweden may still want to extradite him, but whether that happens may ultimately depend on the outcome of the US case. The US has charged Assange under the Espionage Act, saying he conspired to hack into government computers and then published classified information. Australia's ABC takes note of newly surfaced video showing a "gaunt" Assange in prison, from when his father came to visit. (A UN expert says Assange shows signs of "psychological torture.")

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