Home secretary Priti Patel has signed an order to extradite Julian Assange to the US to face espionage charges.

The Home Office has confirmed it will seek to send the Wikileaks founder to America, where he faces life in prison, after a lengthy court battle.

He is being held in a high security unit at Belmarsh prison and has been in custody since his eviction from the Ecuadorean embassy in 2019.

The Australian national sought refuge in the country’s London HQ in 2012 to avoid being sent to Sweden to sexual assault allegations.

Mr Assange, who has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing, claimed the charges were a pretext to send him to the US.

Prosecutors in the states say his high profile leaks of classified material put lives at risk and amounted to espionage, a charge which would carry a life sentence.

To Mr Assange’s supporters, the long-running effort to have him sent to prison is a politically motivated attack on freedom of expression.

His lawyers have argued the conditions he would be subjected to in a US jail amount to torture and extradition should be blocked because it would breach his human rights, as well as putting him at risk of suicide.

Read more: Priti Patel signs order to extradite Julian Assange to US over espionage charges

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