A LONDON court has ordered the extradition of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to the United States (US) for trial on espionage.
The formal extradition order was issued at a court hearing on Wednesday.
Although the 50-year-old Australian can still appeal the decision, the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Priti Patel will decide whether to approve the extradition or not.
Assange is wanted in the US on 18 criminal charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified military files and diplomatic cables in 2010.
While he has denied wrongdoings in the allegations, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted.
He has been in a South-East London jail since 2019 after he was pushed out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in the UK, where he hid from a possible arrest for seven years.
He married his fiancee Stella Moris at a ceremony in the London prison last month.
The Amnesty International has said Assange’s extradition puts him at great risk and “would pose grave threat to press freedom”
AI in a response to the court order, noted that Assange’s extradition violates the prohibition against torture and set an alarming precedent for publishers and journalists around the world.
“The UK has an obligation not to send any person to a place where their life or safety is at risk and the government must not abdicate that responsibility,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard in a statement seen by The ICIR.
“The US authorities have flatly stated that they will change the terms of Assange’s imprisonment in a federal facility whenever they see fit. This admission places Julian Assange at great risk of prison conditions that could result in irreversible harm to his physical and psychological well-being.
“The extradition of Julian Assange would also be devastating for press freedom and for the public, who have a right to know what their governments are doing in their name.
“Publishing information that is in the public interest is a cornerstone of media freedom. Extraditing Julian Assange to face allegations of espionage for publishing classified information would set a dangerous precedent and leave journalists everywhere looking over their shoulders.”