Monday, 16 September, 2019

United Kingdom certifies USA extradition request for Assange

Julian Assange Julian Assange extradition Julian Assange US extradition Julian Assange arrest Julian Assange UK arrest Wikileaks Wikileaks Julian Assange world news indian express U.S. submits formal extradition request to UK for WikiLeaks' Julian Assange
Deanna Wagner | 13 June, 2019, 18:40

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange is due before a London court on Friday, facing the next stage of a US attempt to try him on spying charges after Britain's interior minister said he had validated the American extradition request.

He is accused of working with former USA army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence", a statement said.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he signed the papers on Wednesday, a day after the U.S. Justice Department formally asked Britain to extradite the 47-year-old Australian.

Mr Assange denies the allegations.

The extradition request had been expected ever since USA authorities first announced a criminal case against Assange. It is nearly certain Assange will file an appeal to the High Court after the district judge's ruling, and again (as the law allows) after the Home Secretary's final decision.

Javid added that it is now down to the courts to decide whether to extradite Assange, but the latest move brings the process one step closer to completion.

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The 47-year-old Australian national has consistently denied the allegations and his supporters have accused the US and the United Kingdom governments of an attack on free speech.

Mr Assange was initially charged with a single computer crime violation on allegations that he worked with Ms Manning to crack a government password.

Manning, who spent seven years in a military prison for delivering a trove of classified information to Assange before having her sentence commuted by then-President Barack Obama, has been jailed for civil contempt in Virginia after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

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

Mr Hrafnsson said the charges were "very revealing about the nature of this entire case".

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Tuesday reported Assange's health was "deteriorating", after visiting him at a prison hospital.