Published: Thu, June 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Julian Assange one step closer to being extradited to US

Julian Assange one step closer to being extradited to US

A request by the U.S. to extradite Julian Assange has been signed by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid ahead of a court hearing on Friday.

He is now serving a 50-week sentence in jail for skipping bail when he entered the embassy in 2012.

If basic criteria are met, the home secretary must certify a valid extradition request from the United States before the courts make a decision on whether the person can be extradited. "There's an extradition request from the U.S. 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", Javid was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

The Australian former computer hacker, who was too ill to take part in a recent hearing, is expected to participate in Friday's proceeding via video link.

Last month 17 new charges were filed by the US Justice Department against Assange, accusing of him of conspiring to break into a classified Pentagon computer.

The "first real confrontation of arguments" in court will not be for several weeks or months, WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said, according to Agence France-Presse.

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Back in April, Assange was arrested after Ecuador withdrew his political asylum status.

Sweden also seeks him for questioning about an alleged rape, which Mr Assange has denied. The treaty further bars the USA from prosecuting Julian Assange for any other crime beyond those outlined in the extradition request.

After that, assuming a district judge (full-time professional magistrate) OKs the extradition, Javid himself will make the final decision on whether or not to send the one-time chief WikiLeaker to America, as UK.gov's website explains.

USA prosecutors had initially charged Mr. Assange with a single count of computer intrusion, but last month added 17 new counts, including controversial charges under the Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving and publishing national defence information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

In 2010, Wikileaks disclosed hundreds of thousands of confidential United States military reports surrounding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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