Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – who exposed U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq – has been approved for extradition to the United States by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Assange, who was charged by the Trump government with publishing the Afghan and Iraq war logs, for which he could face 175 years in jail, has 14 days to appeal the decision.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “On 17 June, following consideration by both the magistrates court and high court, the extradition of Mr Julian Assange to the U.S. was ordered…
“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.
“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 U.S. he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”
Responding to the order, Wikileaks said it was a “dark day for press freedom and British democracy.”
Assange is wanted by the American authorities over documents leaked in 2010 and 2011.
He has been in prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019 and arrested by British police, after Ecuador withdrew his asylum status.
He has been charged with political offences under the Espionage Act from 1917, for publishing information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
In 2010 Wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of war logs and diplomatic cables revealing numerous war crimes and other acts of corruption by the U.S., Britain and other governments around the world.
One of the most famous WikiLeaks videos was filmed from a US Apache helicopter, Crazy Horse 1-8, as it shot down 11 civilians in July 2007 in Iraq.
WikiLeaks also revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was 66,000 — far more than the U.S. had acknowledged.
It also highlighted the abuse meted out to Muslim inmates at Guantanamo Bay, including the revelation that 150 innocent people were held for years without charge.
Advocacy group CAGE said the decision by Home Secretary Priti Patel to extradite Julian Assange to the country that planned his assassination, highlights the lack of UK judicial and executive independence from the diktats of the USA.
It also signals a betrayal to free speech, true journalistic investigation and accountability by this Government, CAGE said.
Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE added: “Priti Patel, true to herself, has signed off on the persecution of Assange for his courageous journalism. With the government lining up legislation to insulate itself from accountability, even in the case of war crimes, Julian Assange represents the voice of accountability that they wish to have silenced.”
“We stand with Stella Assange, Wikileakes and the thousands of Assange’s supporters in opposing his extradition and defending the right to expose state abuse.”