British Home Secretary signs Julian Assange’s USA extradition papers

John Shipton

John Shipton

Javid's certifying of the U.S. extradition request lodged this week is the first formal step in having Assange sent across the pond.

"It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we've got a legitimate extradition request, so I've signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts", he said.

Sajid Javid revealed on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that he has already signed Julian Assange's extradition order.

Unlike the India-U.K. Extradition Treaty, the U.S. -U.K. treaty involves a relatively simpler legal process for extradition as the requesting state does not require to establish an elaborate prima facie case against the accused before the British courts. The next hearing in the Australian former computer hacker's case is on Friday.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Mr Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America".

The final decision on whether Assange can be extradited will rest with the courts.

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

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Last month 17 new charges were filed by the US Justice Department against Assange, accusing of him of conspiring to break into a classified Pentagon computer.

The allegations he faces in the United States include computer misuse and the unauthorized disclosure of national defence information.

On the run from extradition to Sweden on accusations of sexual assault, Mr Assange lived inside Ecuador's embassy to London for seven years after being granted asylum.

He said it was a decision for the courts over whether Assange should be extradited.

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

Detained at London's Belmarsh high-security prison, Mr Assange has been transferred to a medical unit due to concerns about his health.

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