US has two months to finalize extradition case against WikiLeaks' Assange

14 April, 2019, 03:23 | Author: Emmett Rice
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On Thursday, Ecuador terminated political asylum of Assange, who had spent almost seven years in the Latin American country's embassy in London.

The cost to taxpayers of policing Assange's stay in the Ecuadorean embassy and his failed attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations - which went all the way to the Supreme Court - is thought to have passed £15 million.

Sweden suspended its investigation of serious sexual misconduct two years ago because Assange was beyond their reach while at the embassy.

"If the Swedish government wants to come forward with those charges, I believe that Assange should face the criminal justice system", said Abbott, who added that the arrest was politically motivated as WikiLeaks has published enormous tranches of sensitive military information.

A coalition of campaigners representing survivors of sexual violence urged the home secretary to focus on the unresolved rape allegations emanating from Sweden against Assange.

The MPs and peers add that it is "of grave concern to us" that the Swedish authorities did not appear to have prior warning of Assange's arrest, unlike the USA authorities.

Diane Abbott, Labour's spokeswoman for domestic affairs, told Parliament: "It is this whistle-blowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the cross hairs of the US administration".

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He appeared in court a few hours later and was found guilty of breaching his bail terms back in 2012.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the woman who reported being raped by Assange, told The Associated Press that she would "do everything" to have the Swedish case reopened so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted.

British politicians are free to lobby the government for a certain course of action, but it's up to the courts to decide whether the US request for Assange's extradition - and a possible future request from Sweden - should be honored. Assange denies the allegation. But Swedish prosecutors have said a rape case could be reactivated before the statute of limitations for that ends in August 2020. He could be jailed for up to a year when he is sentenced at a later date.

"Regardless of where you stand on this, he must face these allegations in Sweden and clear his name if he thinks he's innocent", Maajid said.

The political debate over whether to extradite Assange is already taking shape, with Britain's opposition Labour Party urging the government not to hand him over to the Americans.

Assange's London lawyer Jennifer Robinson confirmed he would be "contesting and fighting" his long-feared extradition to the United States.

"It does not prevent the suspect from being extradited to the United States".

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