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British govt rubber-stamps US extradition request for Julian Assange

The 47-year-old was due to appear in a London court later Friday via video link, as he sought to avoid being forcibly taken to the US.

In this file photo taken on 19 May 2017, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange raises his fist prior to addressing the media on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Picture: AFP

LONDON - The British government has rubber-stamped a request from America to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The 47-year-old was due to appear in a London court later Friday via video link, as he sought to avoid being forcibly taken to the US.

By certifying the request, the authorities in Britain have handed the matter of Assange’s extradition to the courts.

The Trump administration wanted the founder of WikiLeaks to face numerous charges relating to American government secret leaks; he could face up to 175 years in prison.

He was serving a 50-week sentence in an east London jail for violating bail conditions and taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years.

Assange was unlikely to appear in court himself on Friday due to ill health.