He faces 175 years in prison.

The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has issued an extradition order for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. This is stated in a statement issued on Wednesday by the court.

Now the case for the extradition of an Australian to the United States, where he is charged with crimes related to the largest case of disclosure of classified information in American history, and faces 175 years in prison, will be taken by British Interior Minister Priti Patel. At the same time, Assange’s defense has the opportunity to appeal to the High Court of London if the minister decides on extradition.

Addressing Assange, Judge Goldspring said that he had no other choice but to make this verdict and refer the case to the head of the Interior Ministry. “I am obliged to send your case to the Secretary of State (Minister), so that she decides whether to extradite you or not,” the judge said. “You have the right to appeal to the High Court,” he said, warning that this could not be done before the minister’s decision and that he would have to continue to remain in prison.

Long court procedure

In January last year, the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London ruled that the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder would be illegal, since Assange, suffering from autism and clinical depression, is ready to commit suicide and will carry out his plan if he ends up in an American prison. This was the basis for the refusal to extradite Assange to the United States, where 18 criminal charges were brought against him, but this decision was successfully challenged by the American Ministry of Justice. On December 10, 2021, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled that Assange could be extradited to the United States, which assured that the administration of President Joe Biden would not insist on keeping the accused in a high-security prison and would allow him to serve his sentence in his native Australia if he will convict.

Later, the Court of Appeal granted the 50-year-old Australian the opportunity to appeal this verdict to the Supreme Court. But in March, the latter denied him this right, not seeing in the case a “controversial legal moment.”

At the same time, even if the head of the British Interior Ministry approves the extradition of Assange, the point in this case is unlikely to be put. Assange’s defense in this case has the opportunity to appeal to the High Court of London. Theoretically, the Australian still has a chance to challenge the decision in the European Court of Human Rights.

Protests and appeals of human rights defenders

Dozens of Assange supporters traditionally gathered outside the London court on Wednesday. They were holding traditional posters demanding that the British authorities not extradite the Australian to the United States and reminding that journalism cannot be a crime.

Meanwhile, the international human rights organization Amnesty International warned that if Priti Patel decides to extradite the founder of WikiLeaks, it will be a violation of London’s obligations not to accept torture and “will create a dangerous precedent for publishers and journalists around the world.”