British MPs say WikiLeaks' Assange should face justice in Sweden

14 April, 2019, 03:21 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Police bundle WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, center right, from the Ecuadorian embassy into a police van in London after he was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody Thursday April 11, 2019.

Ms Massi Fritz said in a text message sent to the Associated Press that "we are going to do everything" to have the Swedish case reopened "so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted for rape".

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuador embassy, in Knightsbridge, west London, in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.

Sweden is also considering reinstating rape charges against Assange that it had dropped.

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.

"A kneejerk response that presumes that hacking is acceptable if the perpetrators can claim that their motives were journalistic is particularly risky when it emanates from those aspiring to become prime minister or home secretary, such as Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott".

The Australian was arrested "on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court", before being "further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station".

The Ecuadorian government had historically been sympathetic to Assange's cause, but a regime change two years ago heralded a less supportive approach.

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"But the only extradition request is from US, because he's a whistle-blower on atrocities caused by USA military ops". Assange denies the allegation.

They will now re-examine the rape case to decide whether to resume it before the statute of limitations runs out in August 2020.

The 47-year-old fears it would lead to him being extradited to the United States.

Sarah Green, co-director of End Violence Against Women, an alliance of more than 80 organisations, said Assange's portrayal by some as a victim was an affront to rape survivors.

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

At the time, Assange said he had had entirely consensual sex with two women while on a trip to Stockholm and that the Swedish claims against him were part of a smear campaign. The single charge of computer intrusion conspiracy carries up to five years in prison, though the Justice Department can add additional charges depending on the evidence it gathers.

"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. He feared that if he was taken to Sweden, he would be handed to the U.S. authorities.

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