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UK signs extradition request for Julian Assange

June 13, 2019

The WikiLeaks whistleblower is one step closer to extradition after the UK signed a US request. His case will be heard by the courts on Friday.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at court in London
Image: Getty Images/AFP/D. Leal_Olivas

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed on Thursday he had signed a US extradition request for Julian Assange.

Javid told BBC Radio 4 he had signed the request on Wednesday, and that his extradition hearing will start on Friday.

"I'm very pleased that the police were finally able to aprehend him and now he's rightly behind bars, because he broke UK law," Javid said. 

"I want to see justice done at all times. We've got a legitimate extradition request so I have signed it. But the final decision is now with the courts."

The 47-year-old Australian is serving a 50-week sentence in the UK for skipping bail while fleeing extradition to Sweden. That case has been dropped, but he now faces 18 charges relating to publishing secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Australian journalist union warned against his extradition in a statement on Thursday.

"Assange faces up to 170 years in prison and his extradition sets a dangerous global precedent for the suppression of press freedom," the MEAA wrote, calling on the Australian government to defend its citizen.

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

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