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Julian Assange, Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England.Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

LONDON (LifeSiteNews) – Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the U.S. where he faces charges of espionage in relation to the release of millions of classified government documents.

The U.S. has sought Assange’s extradition for over a decade in order to put him on trial over 17 charges of espionage and one of computer misuse relating to his publication of thousands of classified documents and video footage, some of which shows U.S. troops killing civilians during the Iraq war.

The U.K. Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling which blocked Assange, an Australian citizen, from being extradited over suicide concerns, handing the decision to green-light his extradition to Patel.

With the extradition approved, Assange could now face up to 175 years in prison if convicted by a U.S. court.

“On 17 June, following consideration by both the magistrates’ court and high court, the extradition of Mr. Julian Assange to the U.S. was ordered. Mr Assange retains the normal 14-day right to appeal,” a Home Office spokesman confirmed Friday morning, adding that “the U.K. courts have not found 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 U.S. he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health,” the spokesman stated.

Speaking to journalists at a Friday press conference, Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, highlighted “the extremely serious implications this has for all of you and your profession and for human rights.”

The beleaguered journalist’s wife noted that it “was always a possibility that Priti Patel would approve sending Julian to the country that has plotted to assassinate him, to the country that Julian exposed the crimes of,” but vowed that the couple would continue to battle against his extradition.

“We are not at the end of the road here, we are going to fight this. We are going to use every appeal avenue and we are going to fight. I’m going to spend every waking hour working for Julian until he is free, until justice is served,” she said.

Attorney Jennifer Robinson, who has represented Assange for over a decade, said “this decision is a grave threat to freedom of speech, not jut for Julian but for every journalist and editor and media worker in this country. He faces 175 years in prison for publishing information for which he has won journalism awards the world over, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

“This should shock and concern everyone,” she said.

The lawyer pledged to exhaust all avenues of appeal “to stop this extradition from happening” while calling on “the Biden administration to drop this case because of the grave threat it poses to free speech everywhere.” Assange’s counsel likewise called on the Australian government to “take action and to protect this Australian citizen who is at risk.”

WikiLeaks released a statement following news of Patel’s decision, stating “[t]his is a dark day for press freedom and for British democracy” while defending the former publisher as having done “nothing wrong.”

The media organization said it would appeal against Patel, whom they described as “an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

“The path to Julian’s freedom is long and torturous. Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle,” they wrote.