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

Arturo Kim
April 14, 2019

On 11 April WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in the Ecuadorian embassy, following the revocation of his right for diplomatic asylum previously made by Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno.

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.

Julian Assange's mother has taken to Twitter to call on authorities to be gentle with her son, who's jailed in London after his removal from the Ecuadorian Embassy.

MPs are putting increasing pressure on Sajid Javid to extradite Julian Assange back to Sweden and face a longstanding allegation of rape.

Sweden suspended its investigation of serious sexual misconduct two years ago because Assange was beyond their reach while taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 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.

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.

Most of the lawmakers who signed the letter are from the opposition Labour Party, whose leader, Jeremy Corbyn, wants Britain to refuse to send Assange to the U.S. After Assange's arrest, Corbyn praised him for exposing U.S. atrocities committed in Iraq and Afghanistan when WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of confidential U.S. documents in 2010.

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Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott also faced criticism for appearing to down play allegations of rape and sexual assault against Mr Assange.

Assange is due to face Westminster Magistrates Court on May 2 via a video-link from prison over the U.S. extradition case.

It added that "justice has already been denied" in some parts of the investigation because of Assange's unavailability. But Swedish prosecutors have said a rape case could be reactivated before the statute of limitations for that ends in August 2020.

Should the extradition of Mr Assange go through, it would set a awful precedent, eroding the progress made by press freedom campaigners to democratise access to information and its attendant redistribution of power to the people.

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

Referring to Mr Assange, Lord Falconer said: "I don't think politicians should be saying he should or should not be... extradited".

"Our priority should be the 2 alleged victims of sexual violence in Sweden & not a ruse to get him extradited to the United States as a whistleblower".

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