LONDON, June 13. /TASS/. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday he has signed a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but stressed that the final decision will be up to the court.
"We've got a legitimate extradition request so I have signed it. But the final decision is now with the courts," Javid told BBC radio.
The extradition hearing will start on Friday.
On June 11, the United States Department of Justice confirmed information that it had filed a formal request to the United Kingdom to extradite Assange.
Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012, Assange sought refuge in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested by the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police on April 11 after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum.
On May 1, London’s court sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in prison for violating the conditions of his bail in 2012.
If extradited to the United States, Assange may face a 175-year prison term for computer hacking.