The UK home secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed he has signed a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces charges of computer hacking, The Guardian reports.
Speaking on the Today Programme on Thursday, June 13, Javid said: “He’s rightly behind bars. 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’s decision opens the way to the court sending the WikiLeaks founder to America. Assange faces an 18-count indictment, issued by the U.S. Justice Department, that includes charges under the Espionage Act. He is accused of soliciting and publishing classified information and conspiring to hack into a government computer.
Javid said: “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.”
Javid’s decision follows news last week that an attempt to extradite Assange to Sweden had suffered a setback when a court in Uppsala said he did not need to be detained.
The ruling by the district court prevented Swedish prosecutors from applying immediately for an extradition warrant for Assange to face an allegation of rape dating back to 2010. Assange denies the accusation.
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail after he spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London attempting to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Swedish prosecutors dropped their rape investigation in 2017 but reopened it after Ecuador rescinded its offer of asylum to Assange in April this year and allowed British police to arrest him.