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Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States on espionage 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 US.
The Home Office said in a statement that “UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unfair or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
EXTRADITION OF WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE APPROVED BY UK JUDGE
The decision is a big moment in Assange’s years-long battle to avoid being sent to the US.
JULIAN ASSANGE SUFFERED A STROKE DURING THE OCTOBER APPEAL HEARING, PROMISE CLAIMS
The United States has requested extradition so that Assange could stand trial on 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse for WikiLeaks’ release of a trove of classified documents years ago.
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US prosecutors allege that Assange helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified military files that WikiLeaks later released, putting lives at risk.
Associated Press contributed to this report.