LONDON, April 20. /TASS/. London's Westminster Magistrates' Court has issued an order for the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring announced at a brief hearing on Wednesday.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel will now handle the extradition case against Assange, who faces 175 years in prison in the US on charges of leaking classified information. Even if the home secretary grants Assange’s extradition, his defense team will still have an opportunity to file an appeal with the High Court.
"I am duty bound to send your case to the Secretary of State for a decision on whether or not you should be extradited," the judge told Assange who watched the hearing via video link from Belmarsh Prison. "Having sent your case to the Secretary of State, you have the right to appeal to the High Court. If you exercise your right to appeal, it won’t be heard until the Secretary of State has made her decision under the Act," he added.
Assange extradition process
In January 2021, the Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that Assange should not be extradited to the United States because he suffers from autism and clinical depression and could commit suicide in a maximum-security US prison. However, the ruling was successfully challenged by the US Department of Justice. On December 10, 2021, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled to extradite Assange to the United States who had provided assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would not face severe treatment. Assange was later allowed to appeal against the decision with the Supreme Court, which, however, denied him permission to do so.