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Julian Assange US extradition request gets UK's green light

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has signed the request from the US Department of Justice.

Julian Assange
Assange will soon find out whether he'll be extradited to the US.
Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is one step closer to being extradited to the US from the UK over charges of conspiring to hack government computers. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC's Today Programme on Thursday morning that he'd signed the extradition order, submitted to him by the US on Tuesday, ahead of Assange's extradition hearing in court on Friday.

Javid said that part of his role to sign all legitimate extradition requests, but Assange's fate was largely out of his hands. "It is a decision ultimately for the courts," he said.

Assange was arrested in April at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he'd been living for almost seven years. In May, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail in the UK for fear of being extradited to Sweden to face rape charges. Shortly after his arrest, the US Department of Justice said it would seek to extradite the 47-year-old. Sweden has also said it may reopen the rape case against Assange.

Assange is being held at Belmarsh Prison and is thought to be in ill health. He is expected to appear in Westminster Magistrate's Court on Friday via video link. The case will be decided by a judge, who could set a timetable for extradition proceedings to take place, although Assange would have opportunities to appeal.

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