This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 20 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
Advertisement

UK interior minister certifies US request to extradite Julian Assange

This move now opens the way for a court battle.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange
Image: Victoria Jones via PA Images

UK INTERIOR MINISTER Sajid Javid has certified the US request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on espionage grounds.

This move now opens the way for a court battle.

The US Justice Department confirmed on Tuesday that it had submitted a formal extradition request. Javid has now confirmed he signed it yesterday.

The final decision on whether Assange can be extradited will rest with the courts. The next hearing in the Australian former computer hacker’s case is tomorrow.

The 47-year-old had been sheltering in Ecuador’s embassy in London for seven years until his arrest on 11 April when Quito finally withdrew his asylum.

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

“I’m very pleased that the police were finally able to apprehend him and now he’s rightly behind bars because he broke UK law,” Javid told BBC radio.

There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I … certified it.

“I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the … decision is now with the courts.”

If basic criteria are met, the home secretary must certify a valid extradition request from the US before the courts make a decision on whether the person can be extradited.

The secretary then decides whether to order an extradition.

Tomorrow’s hearing

Assange, who is being held in the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London, is not expected to attend tomorrow’s hearing in person but could take part via video-link, although it will be largely procedural.

The “first real confrontation of arguments” in court will not be for several weeks or months, according to WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Washington has accused Assange of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010.

The 18 charges reject his claim he was simply a publisher receiving leaked material — which would be protected under press freedom legislation.

The case has upset some US and other world media, which argue that Assange’s activities differ very little from their own. They fear his case could set a precedent for limiting free speech and media rights.

© – AFP 2019

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS