Home Secretary Priti Patel said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had 14 days to appeal the decision, which comes after a UK court issued a formal order clearing his removal.
The British government has ordered the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face spying charges. He is set to appeal the decision.
Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition order on Friday, her department said. It follows a British court ruling in April that Assange could be sent to the US.
The Home Office said in a statement that "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 decision is a big moment in Assange’s years-long battle to avoid facing trial in the US — though not necessarily the end of the tale. Assange has 14 days to appeal.
READ MORE: UK court approves Assange extradition to US
WikiLeaks to appeal
WikiLeaks called Patel's decision a "dark day for press freedom and for British democracy" and vowed to pursue the appeal to the High Court, accusing the US of having "plotted his assassination".
"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," a statement posted on the Wikileaks Twitter accounts said.
A British judge approved the extradition in April, leaving the final decision to the government. The ruling came after a legal battle that went all the way to the UK Supreme Court.
The US has asked British authorities to extradite Assange so he can stand trial on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents more than a decade ago.
American prosecutors say Assange unlawfully helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.
Supporters and lawyers for Assange, 50, argue that he was acting as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing documents that exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in jail if he is convicted in the US, though American authorities have said any sentence is likely to be much lower than that.
Assange has been held at Britain’s high-security Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle.
Before that, he spent seven years inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Sweden dropped the sex crimes investigations in November 2019 because so much time had elapsed.
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