London (Times Of Ocean)- A British judge on Wednesday sent Julian Assange’s case to the British interior minister, who will decide if he should be extradited to the United States over the release of classified documents.
A UK court has approved Julian Assange’s extradition to the US on espionage charges, which will ultimately be decided by UK home secretary Priti Patel.
Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who has the right to appeal, appeared by videolink during the Westminster magistrates court hearing. His barrister described it as a “brief but significant moment in proceedings”.
Assange’s lawyer, Mark Summers QC, told the chief magistrate that he had no other option than to send the case to the home secretary. Assange’s team was not entitled to present fresh evidence at this point, but there had been “new developments”, he added.
“Serious submissions” would be made to the home secretary concerning US sentencing and conditions, Summers said.
Last month, the supreme court rejected Assange’s appeal against extradition. In December, the high court ruled that he could be extradited after receiving assurances from US authorities regarding his prison conditions.
During a seven-minute hearing, the chief magistrate, Paul Goldspring, issued an extradition order.
Goldspring told Assange: “In layman’s terms, I am obligated to send your case to the secretary of state.”
Assange’s lawyers can also access other channels to fight his extradition in addition to making submissions to Patel. He may be able to challenge other issues of law raised at first instance on which he lost and have not yet been appealed.
Assange appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison, where he recently married his partner, Stella Moris, and spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.
Moris sat in the public gallery at the Westminster magistrates court, where a throng of supporters gathered outside, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn said he hoped the home secretary would realize her “huge responsibility” to stand up for free speech, journalism, and democracy.
“He has done no more than tell the world about military planning, military policies, and the horrors of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I think he deserves thanks,” he told reporters.