Julian Assange's Lawyers Vow to Fight His Extradition to the United States

Posted April 14, 2019

More than 70 British lawmakers have urged the government to make sure that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces Swedish justice if prosecutors there reopen a rape allegation against him.

Within hours of police hauling him out of the embassy, the 47-year-old Australia appeared in court for breaching his British bail conditions back in 2012 and to face a subsequent USA extradition request. He was holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost seven years.

Assange has always denied the allegations, which he feared would lead to him being extradited to the United States and facing trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents in 2010, which brought WikiLeaks to prominence.

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

A preliminary investigation against Mr Assange, 47, was dropped in 2017, however the alleged victim's lawyer has stated "we will do everything we can" to resume the case.

Mr Marchan said: "He has said that we were spying on him, he has said we were lying, we were agents of the United States". The allegation of rape has a limitation period which expires in August 2020 under Swedish law.

Inquiries into claims of molestation and unlawful coercion have already been timed out. "Julian's spirit stays strong", Mrs Assange said in a tweet to "warriors" for her son.

Extradition proceedings are dealt with by the courts.

These include whether the person might be at risk of the death penalty or whether the requesting state might try to add additional charges it has not specified.

If Britain receives competing extradition requests, lawyers say the Home Secretary would have some leeway in deciding which takes priority.

In the court it was also announced Assange was facing a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the USA for his alleged role in WikiLeaks' 2010 dumping of government secrets.

He faces criminal action in America over his role in one of the "largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history", the Financial Times reports.

The MPs note that the investigation in Sweden was "discontinued only because of Assange's unavailability" while he was inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. "We've ended the asylum of this spoiled brat", President Lenin Moreno said Thursday explaining his decision to withdraw protection of Assange.

The official, who asked for anonymity when discussing the case, said US authorities had already sent Britain a provisional arrest warrant regarding Assange's extradition to the United States.

After his dramatic arrest, he was taken to Westminster Magistrates' Court and found guilty of a British charge of breaching bail. He spent Thursday night in custody and is facing up to 12 months in prison for that conviction.

Assange is due to face a hearing over his possible extradition to the USA on May 2.

"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 United Nations called for Assange's right to a fair trial to be respected during any extradition process.