Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges in a case involving the CIA’s unauthorized hacking of a massive computer network.
Assange, who has lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for nearly four years, has been wanted for questioning in the United States over allegations he provided secret information about the U.S. government to WikiLeaks.
The high court ruled the United Kingdom has to send Assange to Sweden where he faces two sexual assault and rape allegations. In the United States, he has been wanted in a U.S. court since 2010, when he disclosed thousands of secret American diplomatic cables and intelligence files.
His lawyer claimed that Swedish authorities would likely offer him a plea deal, avoiding a potential extradition to the United States. The court rejected that claim.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday U.S. officials are ready to work with British officials and European allies to begin extradition proceedings.
“I can assure you that we are taking the situation of Mr. Assange very seriously,” Tillerson said. “We want to make sure that he understands that as well as anyone.”
British authorities said a warrant had been issued for Assange’s arrest on an earlier criminal charge in the U.S.
Assange — a longtime thorn in the side of Washington — could face prosecution in connection with the release of more than 250,000 classified documents.
WikiLeaks has dismissed any suggestion that it is coordinating with Russian intelligence agencies against the 2016 U.S. presidential election.