Julian Assange extradition order issued by London court

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has moved one step closer to being extradited to the United States, where he is set to be tried under the Espionage Act, after a London court sent his handover order to the British government for approval.

The court issued a formal extradition order in a hearing Wednesday, leaving UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to rubber-stamp his transfer to the US after a years-long legal wrangle. Assange is able to appeal the decision.

He is wanted in the US on 18 criminal charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. If convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.

Assange joined the hearing virtually from the high security Belmarsh Prison in London, where he has been held since being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London three years ago. He stated his full name and date of birth.