When could Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be extradited to the US?

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The Home Office has signed an order to extradite Julian Assange to the US to face espionage charges. The ruling comes a month after the Supreme Court found no legal questions over assurances provided by American authorities, passing the decision to Priti Patel. The question now is when Mr Assange must leave and what happens when he arrives in the US.

When will Julian Assange be extradited?

Mr Assange has resided in Belmarsh prison since 2019, when he was ejected from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and subsequently arrested.

US authorities have wanted the Wikileaks founder for leaking documents between 2010 and 2011, and the Australian has fought extradition attempts.

Mr Assange has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the leaks.

The ruling from Ms Patel opens up the eventuality of extradition, but it is not yet set in stone.

A Home Office spokesperson explained the Extradition Act 2003 requires the Home Secretary to sign an extradition order when there are no grounds prohibiting one.

The signed document follows a decision from the Supreme Court that sending Mr Assange to the US would not be “oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process”.

The spokesperson added: “Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

His team has 14 days to make an application to appeal against Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision.

Mr Assange has chosen to appeal, and depending on that process, British authorities cannot place him on a plane bound for the US.

Wikileaks released a statement confirming his next steps soon after the Home Office revealed its ruling.

The site stated: “The path to Julian’s freedom is long and tortuous.

“Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle.”

“We will appeal through the legal system, the next appeal will be before the High Court.”

“We will fight louder and shout harder on the streets, we will organise and we will make Julian’s story be known to all.”

The statement added: “We will not let that happen. Julian’s freedom is coupled to all our freedoms.

“We will fight to return Julian to his family and to regain freedom of expression for us all.”

Wikileaks claimed that Mr Assange would face a 175-year jail sentence if deported to the US.

He is wanted in the US on 18 charges after Wikileaks released thousands of classified files, an act Washington DC said violated espionage laws.

President Donald Trump brought the charges under the Espionage Act in April 2019.

Swedish authorities, who also requested his extradition under alleged sex crimes in 2012, have dropped their case against Mr Assange.

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