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U.S.-bound?

U.K. judge approves Julian Assange's extradition to the United States

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a step closer to getting extradited to the United States. 

A judge in the U.K. on Wednesday approved Assange's extradition to the U.S., meaning the next step is for Britain's interior minister to make a decision on it, The Associated Press reports.

Assange faces charges of espionage stemming from the publication of classified material by WikiLeaks, and he has been in custody since 2019. 

A court in the U.K. granted Assange's extradition in December, and in March, the U.K. Supreme Court denied him permission to appeal because his "application does not raise an arguable point of law." 

After the judge's approval on Wednesday, U.K.'s Home Secretary Priti Patel will decide whether to grant the extradition, though Assange can still appeal to the High Court, per the AP

A judge had previously said it would be "oppressive" to extradite Assange to the United States due to his "mental condition." But the United States then offered "assurances" that he would receive "appropriate clinical and psychological treatment" and would not be held in maximum security prison. 

According to Axios, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.