UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid Thursday confirmed that he has signed an order following a request from the US government to extradite Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to face charges of computer hacking before the American courts.
The senior Pakistani-origin minister said that the decision now lies with the UK courts to analyse if the case meets all the tests required for Assange’s extradition to the US.
“He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow [Friday] but yesterday [Wednesday] I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow,” Javid told the BBC.
“It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts,” he said.
Assange, who faces an 18-count indictment by the US Justice Department, had been too ill to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at a scheduled hearing last month and his next hearing is expected to take place at the high-security Belmarsh jail in London, where he is being held.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who presides over a number of high-profile Indian extradition requests including that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamond merchant Nirav Modi, is due to hear the case at its next hearing on Friday.