British Home Secretary Sajid Javid says he has signed an extradition order that would send imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States if British courts favor the move.
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Javid told BBC radio Thursday courts will decide whether Assange must face espionage charges in the U.S.
Assange is scheduled to face an extradition hearing Friday on the U.S. request. A decision is likely months away.
He is serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh Prison for jumping bail in Britain.
The 47-year-old was too ill to take part in a recent hearing. He is expected to participate in Friday’s proceeding via video link.
The US plan to prosecute him for espionage has raised free speech issues. Assange asserts he is a journalist shielded by the First Amendment.
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