UK home secretary signs US extradition request for Assange

UK home secretary signs US extradition request for Assange
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The United Kingdom's home secretary on Wednesday signed an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangePamela Anderson: Julian Assange has been 'psychologically tortured' in London prison Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE on Wednesday, setting up Assange for a court battle over whether he will be sent to the U.S. to face charges.

Sajid Javid told a BBC radio program on Thursday that he had signed the papers a day earlier, according to CNN, and that the case is expected to go before a judge on Friday.

"First of all I am very pleased the police were able to apprehend him and now he is rightly behind bars because he broke U.K. law," Javid told BBC Radio 4, according to CNN.

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"There is an extradition request from the U.S. that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow," he added.

Assange, if extradited to the U.S., would face charges under the Espionage Act related to his involvement in the publication of leaked classified materials stolen by Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningWhistleblowers and the hypocrisy of the ruling class Pamela Anderson: Julian Assange has been 'psychologically tortured' in London prison WaPo announces plans to increase investigative journalism staff MORE, a former Army intelligence analyst.

The charges have been denounced by some journalists, including editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post, as overly restrictive on the rights of publishers.

The materials published detailed U.S. military actions in the Middle East, including one that led to the death of several Reuters journalists on the ground.

In a statement to CNN, the U.K. Home Office said that it would not comment further on Assange's extradition battle until the courts decided the WikiLeaks founder's fate.

"Mr. Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America. He is accused of offenses including computer misuse and the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information," said the Home Office.

"We have received the full extradition request, which has been certified by the Home Secretary," the statement continued. "This case is now before the courts and it would be inappropriate to comment further."