UK govt. approves extradition of Assange to US

The British government has approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he faces criminal charges.

The Home Office said in a statement on Friday that courts in the UK have not found the move to be an abuse of process. His extradition was ordered in April.

US authorities have charged the founder of the whistle-blowing website over the release of a huge trove of confidential government documents. He has been in jail in Britain for breaching bail conditions.

The Home Office statement says, "It is in our national interest to have a balanced, effective extradition relationship which prevents criminals evading justice and the UK becoming a haven for fugitives."

Assange has 14 days to appeal. His family says the motion will be filed.

Speaking in New York, Assange's brother Gabriel Shipton called the British government's decision a dark day for democracy.

He said, "What this decision means is that basic journalism, journalism that people do every day, sourcing information, publishing information is now illegal in the UK."

Assange's father John Shipton said he finds it shameful that Britain has conspired with the US Justice Department to bring an end to the freedom of the press.