A court has formally approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the US on espionage charges, in what will ultimately be a decision for the UK home secretary, Priti Patel. The Wikileaks co-founder, who has the right of appeal, appeared by videolink during the Westminster magistrates court hearing, which one of his barristers described as a “brief but significant moment in the case”.
Mark Summers QC, for Assange, told the chief magistrate that he had no option but to send the case to the home secretary. It was not open, at this point, for Assange’s team to raise fresh evidence but there had been “fresh developments”, he added. Summers said “serious submissions” would be made to the home secretary regarding “sentencing and other matters”.
The brief hearing was taking place after the supreme court last month refused Assange’s appeal against his extradition. He had sought to challenge a judgment by the high court in December that ruled he could be extradited after assurances from the US authorities with regard to his prison conditions there. An extradition order was issued by the chief magistrate, Paul Goldspring, during the seven-minute hearing.