The United Kingdom has signed an extradition order to send Julian Assange to the United States.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the 47-year-old Australian citizen was "rightly behind bars". He had spent seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid arrest.The final decision would be up to the court. The process is expected to take months if not years. The court's decision can be also appealed. If extradition is approved, Assange will face charges that he conspired to hack government computers and violated an espionage law.
Assange faces an 18-count indictment in the US that accuses him of soliciting and publishing classified information and of conspiring with former Army private Chelsea Manning to crack a Defence Department computer password. If he is found guilty he could be facing a maximum penalty of five years in jail. Assange is currently at London’s Belmarsh high-security prison but has been transferred to a medical unit due to concerns about his health. In the UK courts Assange's lawyers are expected to argue Assange's extradition should not take place because he would not face a fair trial in the US, and because the charges are for "political" crimes. Assange is due to appear by video link from Belmarsh Prison at an extradition hearing on Friday.