Julian Assange's extradition hearing set for 2020

Assange tells a UK court that his life would be at risk if he's extradited to the US.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
Julian Assange Sentenced To 50 Weeks In Prison For Breaching Bail Conditions

Julian Assange faces a long list of charges in the US.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face an extradition hearing in February, a British judge ruled Friday. Assange is waiting to learn whether the UK will extradite him to the US, where he faces charges of conspiring to hack government computers.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid approved the US Justice Department's request on Thursday, but it's up to the court to decide whether the extradition will go ahead.

The US extradition request notes 18 charges related to endangering national security. Assange told the court that his life was "effectively at stake" if he is extradited, according to Bloomberg. He maintained that WikiLeaks is just a "publisher" and didn't break any laws to acquire information.

Assange appeared via video link at a hearing at Westminster Magistrate's Court in London on Friday from Belmarsh Prison, where he's being held. Last month, the 47-year-old was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in the UK for skipping bail in 2012. 

At the time, Sweden was attempting to extradite Assange on rape allegations. He retreated to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he claimed asylum and stayed there until police arrested him in April. Sweden dropped the investigation in 2017 because it couldn't proceed while Assange remained in the embassy, but prosecutors noted at the time that they hadn't cleared him.

On top of fighting extradition, Assange is appealing his sentence for skipping bail. Meanwhile, officials in Sweden are considering reopening the rape case against him. Assange denies all charges against him.