Parliamentarians urge Government to ensure Assange can be extradited to Sweden

Apr 14, 2019, 00:04
Parliamentarians urge Government to ensure Assange can be extradited to Sweden

More than 70 MPs and peers - mostly from the opposition Labour Party - wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for the 47-year-old whistleblower to be extradited to Sweden if Swedish prosecutors reopen a rape inquiry against him.

On Friday evening, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Assange should be extradited to Sweden before any attempt to get him to the US.

Assange originally sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors wanted to question him over a rape allegation, which he denied.

However, relations with his Ecuadoran hosts gradually soured and pro-US President Lenin Moreno on Thursday pulled his asylum, cancelled his citizenship and permitted British police to remove Assange. However, much of the coverage focused on the US request for his extradition on a single charge of conspiring with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal military secrets.

His separate extradition case is set to be next heard by video-link at Westminster Magistrates Court on May 2.

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It follows confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Service that in the event of competing extradition requests for the same person, it falls to the home secretary to decide which one goes first.

The US also wants to extradite him from the United Kingdom over his alleged role in one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets in 2010.

But WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said he fears more charges will be added, meaning Assange could face decades in a USA prison.

Maajid Nawaz calls for Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott to stick with their principles and stop making excuses for Julian Assange by urging the government to block his extradition to the Untied States.

The battle between Assange and the US government was always going to be epic, involving concepts like free speech, journalists' rights, national interests, even treason.

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

Extradition can be blocked to countries where the death penalty may be used, but human rights lawyer Karen Todner, who represented Mr McKinnon, said the U.S. was likely to give assurances that capital punishment would not be on the table in Assange's case.

Some of the sexual misconduct accusations are no longer viable because their time ran out.

"The allegation of rape has a limitation period which expires in August 2020", warned the letter signed by Labour MP Stella Creasy and dozens of others.

Assange's lawyers meanwhile confirmed that United States prosecutors have 65 days to submit a full set of charges, raising the prospect of additional criminal allegations being introduced that would result in a far longer sentence.

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Those charges were dropped in May 2017, but Swedish prosecutors say they are now re-examining the case after a request by one of the alleged victim's lawyers.