The potential extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US has progressed a step further after British chief magistrate Paul Goldspring has issued the extradition order in a seven-minute hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
This order, which follows a March decision to deny Assange permission to appeal against his extradition, leaves UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to end the years-long legal wrangle and rubber-stamp his transfer to the US.
It’s Patel who will decide whether the WikiLeaks founder should be extradited to the US, after which, depending on what decision will be, Assange can challenge that decision by judicial review involving a judge that would examine the legitimacy of a public body’s decision.
Assange’s lawyers now have four weeks to make submissions to Patel and can also seek to appeal to the High Court. They can also access other routes to fight his extradition, including mounting a challenge on other law issues raised at the first instance on which he lost and has not yet been subject to appeal.
Mark Summers QC, for Assange, noted that he had no option but to send the case to Patel. Stressing they would make serious submissions regarding US sentencing and conditions.
He also informed that there had been fresh developments but that the case was not open, at this point, for Assange’s team to raise fresh evidence.
Assange, who denies any wrongdoing, is set to be tried in the United States on 18 criminal charges under the Espionage Act over the release of confidential US documents in 2010.
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