U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Thursday that he has signed an order to extradite Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to the USA, where he faces charges of computer hacking, following a request from the US government.
He is accused of working with former U.S. army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence", a statement said.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC that the final decision on Mr Assange's extradition would be up to the court. He had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 when Sweden was trying to question him about sexual misconduct allegations.
The WikiLeaks founder is set to face an extradition case management hearing on Friday, which could see him sent to the USA to face trial.
Professor Melzer, a United Nations independent expert on torture, warns that if extradited to the US, Mr Assange risks "serious violations of his human rights" and could be jailed for up to 175 years.
By certifying the request, Mr Javid has effectively rubber-stamped it so it can now be considered by the court.More news: Facebook Now Wants To Pay You For Your Data
More news: Seriously injured Froome out of Tour de France after horror crash
More news: Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent Master Recordings Destroyed in 2008 Fire
The US official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorised to speak publicly. The next hearing in the Australian former computer hacker's case is on Friday.
The 47-year-old Australian national has consistently denied the allegations and his supporters have accused the US and the United Kingdom governments of an attack on free speech.
Mr Assange is now serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail in 2012 and fleeing to the Ecuadorean embassy, where he stayed for almost seven years.
It also published thousands of entirely unredacted USA diplomatic cables, exposing the nation's foreign policy workings and causing it severe embarrassment in the process.
He received a visit on Tuesday from his father, John Shipton, and the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, Britain's Press Association reported.