UK government approves Julian Assange's extradition to the US

It's expected to be appealed, yet again.

Peter Nicholls / reuters

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange's extradition to the US has been approved by UK home secretary Priti Patel, according to a UK government factsheet. "Under the Extradition Act 2003, the secretary of state must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made," a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement. "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 US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.

The announcement was expected after a UK court issued a formal order to extradite Assange in April, a necessary legal step required before the government can act. "Extradition requests are only sent to the home secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case," the spokesperson stated.

After the earlier trial, Assange's team would have had the opportunity to submit information to sway Patel, but that apparently failed to move her. The order isn't necessarily the final word on the case, though. Assange's legal team is expected to appeal within the 14-day window allowed, likely on the grounds of freedom of expression and whether the order was politically motivated.

It's not unprecedented for such appeals to be successful, either. Alleged British hacker Lauri Love won his US extradition appeal on human rights grounds, arguing that the order would have caused his Asperger's condition to deteriorate.