Thursday, 18 April, 2019

'The Daily Show' recaps WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's embarrassing arrest

Craig Murray Craig Murray
Jeannette Daniel | 13 April, 2019, 08:21

Assange first sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, when he skipped bail after an extradition order to Sweden, where someone had accused him of sexual assault.

Australian-born Assange, 47, also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the U.S. for his alleged role in one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets in 2010. He could also face a second extradition request if Sweden decides to pursue a rape case against him that was suspended in 2017, when he was in the embassy, beyond the reach of the law.

He spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought political asylum in 2012 when he failed in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted over two separate allegations - one of rape and one of molestation.

US prosecutors have just under two months to present British authorities with a final and detailed criminal case to justify the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a USA government official said on Friday.

Julian Assange's unceremonious removal from the Ecuadorian embassy in London makes headlines on Friday, along with Brexit and the Duchess of Sussex.

But his arrest prompted the lawyer for a Swedish woman who alleged she was raped by Assange during a visit to Stockholm in 2010 to say they wanted the case reopened.

The Wikileaks founder will next appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on May 2 by prison video-link in relation to the extradition.

More news: Thielen, Vikings agree to four-year contract extension

The letter, signed by mostly Labour MPs, urges Mr Javid to "stand with the victims of sexual violence" and ensure the rape claim against the 47-year-old can be "properly investigated".

He said a Grand Jury investigation included charges which could lead to decades in prison or even the death penalty under the Espionage Act 1917, although UK Government policy is to block extradition to countries where suspects might face capital punishment.

"It is therefore of grave concern to us that it appears that the Swedish authorities were not aware of the plans made to arrest Mr Assange yesterday in London, and we would welcome clarity as to what action the United Kingdom authorities took to ensure that the Swedish prosecutors were informed in advance of this decision", it adds.

Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson said they would be fighting the extradition request.

Speaking in a press conference yesterday, Assange's lawyer Jen Robinson said that the arrest set a "dangerous precedent" for those "publishing truthful information about the United States".

If Assange loses in extradition court, he could appeal several times and ultimately try to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights - unless Britain has left the European Union by that time.

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