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Julian Assange can be extradited, says UK home secretary

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wanted in the US on 18 criminal charges.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the US has been approved by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, report BBC and CNN.

Mr Assange has 14 days to appeal the decision, the Home Office said.

It said the courts found that extradition would not be “incompatible with his human rights” and that while in the US “he will be treated appropriately.”

Mr Assange is wanted by the American authorities over documents leaked in 2010 and 2011.

The Wikileaks documents, which the US says broke the law and endangered lives, relate to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Australian is being held at Belmarsh prison in London after mounting a lengthy battle to avoid being extradited.

Assange is wanted in the US on 18 criminal charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. If convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.

Responding to the home secretary’s order, Wikileaks confirmed that it would appeal her decision.

Rights groups have expressed concerns over the US’s indictment of Assange, saying it undermines freedom of the press.

“Allowing Julian Assange to be extradited to the US would put him at great risk and sends a chilling message to journalists the world over,” Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International secretary general, said in a statement Friday.

Mr Assange’s wife, Stella, said her husband had done “nothing wrong” and “he has committed no crime”.

“He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job.”

The media company, Wikileaks, is a whistle-blowing platform that publishes classified material provided by anonymous sources.

Mr Assange 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.