London: Britain’s interior minister said on Thursday he had certified the US req-uest to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on espionage grounds in a procedural move that opens the way for a court battle.
The US Justice Department confirmed on Tuesday that it had submitted a formal extradition request. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he signed it on Wednesday.
The final decision on whether Assange can be extradited will rest with the courts. The next hearing in the Austr-alian former computer hacker’s case is on Friday. The 47-year-old had been sheltering in Ecuador’s embassy in London for seven years until his arrest on April 11 when Quito finally withdrew his asylum.
“I’m very pleased that the police were finally able to apprehend him and now he’s rightly behind bars as he broke UK law,” Javid told BBC radio.
“There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I... certified it. “I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I've signed it, but the... decision is now with the courts.”