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Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States on spying charges was approved Friday by British Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The WikiLeaks co-founder’s legal team is expected to file an appeal within the required 14 days. The development follows a British court ruling in April that Assange could be sent to the U.S.
FILE – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange pauses as he makes a statement to media gathered outside the High Court in London, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
The Home Office said in a statement that “the U.K courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
FILE – Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
The decision is a big moment in Assange’s years-long battle to avoid being sent to the U.S.
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 11: Supporters gather outside as the High Court hears a US appeal in the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, at Royal Courts of Justice, Chancery Lane on August 11, 2021 in London, England. (Ming Yeung/Getty Images)
The U.S. requested the extradition so Assange could stand trial on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents years ago.
American prosecutors allege Assange helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.