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Julian Assange 'must face Swedish justice' if country asks, says MPs

14 April 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".

Women's groups have added to pressure on Sajid Javid to ensure Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden.

The struggle has taken him through a "mansion arrest" in the English countryside; a dramatic escape into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London; a multimillion-pound United Kingdom police siege of the embassy that has strained government coffers; and even a freakish attempt to turn him into a Moscow-based diplomat.

But within 60 days from Thursday, when British police bundled Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he had taken refuge seven years ago, USA authorities must submit a formal request outlining all the legal charges Assange would face if he is transferred into US custody.

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

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the Swedish woman who accused Julian Assange of rape in 2010 said Thursday she and her client would ask Swedish prosecutors to reopen the investigation which was dropped in 2017.

Previous comparable cases, involving accused hackers Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, took between five and 10 years but eventually resulted in their extraditions to the USA being blocked.

WikiLeaks says he will fight the USA extradition request and has been meeting with his legal team to plan his defence.

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At the prison, where he is being held while the extradition process plays out, "there are medical facilities there, access to dental care I would assume, and a garden to go out into", Hrafnsson said.

USA government prosecutors had better tread lightly in bringing Assange to the sort of justice demanded by readers of The New York Times - which is to say: lock him up in some SuperMax solitary hellhole and throw away the key.

"During his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the government of the former president Rafael Correa, they tolerated things like Mr Assange putting faeces on the walls of the embassy and other types of behaviour of this kind that is far removed from the minimum respect a guest should have in a country which has generously welcomed him", she said.

However, lawyer Rebecca Niblock said that, if Sweden made an extradition request, it would be for the home secretary to decide which would take precedence, considering factors such as which was made first and the seriousness of the offence.

This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.

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

On Friday, several dozen people demonstrated in support of Assange outside the British embassy in Berlin.

Julian Assange 'must face Swedish justice' if country asks, says MPs