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British justice authorizes the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States

After two years of legal proceedings, the ax has fallen for Julian Assange. British justice formally authorized on Wednesday April 20 the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks to the United States, where he is charged with 17 counts of espionage in particular.

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Westminster Magistrates Court, London, has formally issued an extradition order. It is now up to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve it. Defense lawyers still retain the option of appealing to the High Court.

Threat to press freedom

Caught in a long legal saga, the 50-year-old Australian is wanted by the American justice system, which wants to try him for the dissemination, from 2010, of more than 700,000 classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prosecuted in particular under legislation against espionage, Julian Assange faces 175 years in prison, in a case denounced by human rights organizations as a serious attack on the freedom of the press. On March 14, he had seen one of his last hopes of avoiding his extradition disappear, with the refusal of the British Supreme Court to examine his appeal.