I recognise that this is an issue about which many of my constituents care deeply. It is important to stress that extradition is a vital tool in the UK’s fight against transnational crime. There are also stringent legal protections in place to ensure a case does not raise any human rights issues and it is not incompatible with the five statutory bars to extradition.
Under the Extradition Act 2003, the Home Secretary must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prohibit the order being made. Extradition requests are only sent to the Home Secretary once a judge decides it can proceed after considering various aspects of the case.
When presiding over a case, a judge must decide whether the case raises any human rights issues and whether the case passes the five statutory bars to extradition. These include rules against double jeopardy, extraneous considerations (where it is considered that the person is being prosecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions) and historic offences.
In this instance, UK courts did not find that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health. The Home Secretary therefore signed the extradition order.
As I understand it, Mr Assange submitted a High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him to the United States. Please be assured I will be following developments on this matter closely.