Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States on spying charges was approved by British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday.
The WikiLeaks co-founder’s legal team is expected to file an appeal in the required 14 days. The development follows a British court ruling in April that Assange could be sent to the U.S.
The Home Office said in a statement that “the U.K courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange.”
The decision is a big moment in Assange’s years-long battle to avoid being sent to the U.S.
The U.S. requested the extradition so that Assange can stand trial on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents years ago.
American prosecutors allege Assange helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.