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Julian Assange: UK Officials Push to Extradite WikiLeaks Founder to Sweden

British MPs urge government to push for Assange's extradition to face Swedish authorities

 on 13th April 2019 @ 12.00pm
british mps are urging the uk government to extradite julian assange to sweden © press
British MPs are urging the UK Government to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden

British MPs are urging the UK Government to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden, should Swedish authorities make the extradition request.

A letter putting pressure on the government to ensure Assange is extradited has so far been signed by 70 MPs.

The letter, which has been sent to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, was posted on Twitter by Labour MP Stella Creasy.

It reads: "We are writing to request that you do everything you can to champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event Sweden make an extradition request.

"This would be so the formal investigation into an allegation of rape can be concluded and, if appropriate, a charge can be made and any trial can take place.

"We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done.

"We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated."

julian assange was living in the ecuadorian embassy in london until his sudden arrest this week © press
Julian Assange was living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London until his sudden arrest this week

According to Sky News, the founder of the WikiLeaks website is also facing extradition to the US on charges of conspiring to hack into a government computer with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Assange was arrested on Thursday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had enjoyed diplomatic protection since June 2012.

He was removed from the embassy after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum - accusing him of interfering in international affairs and being discourteous to embassy staff.

The Australian, 47, is facing allegations of rape in Sweden, but they expire next August.

Despite members of his own party calling for Assange's extradition, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the government to block the move.

He said: "The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government."

Mr. Corbyn was referring to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US military reports and diplomatic communications in 2010.

One video it published showed an American military helicopter firing on and killing civilians in Iraq in 2007.

Diane Abbott, the Labour spokeswoman for domestic affairs, said Assange's extradition should be blocked on human rights grounds.

She told the BBC that the case against him was about the "embarrassment of the things he's revealed about the American military and security services."

julian assange was dragged from the ecuadorian embassy in london by uk police during a dramatic arrest © press
Julian Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by UK police during a dramatic arrest

Ms. Abbott added that he was a "whistleblower, and much of the information that he brought into the public domain, it could be argued, was very much in the public interest."

America has just under two months to present Britain with a detailed case to justify Assange's potential extradition, a US government official said on Friday.

Assange first sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after failing in his legal battle against his initial extradition to Sweden.

In May 2017, Swedish prosecutors dropped the inquiry into the rape claim against Assange - a claim he has always denied.

His arrest on Thursday has since prompted the lawyer for the woman who accused him of rape to ask for the case to be reopened.

Swedish prosecutors have confirmed that they are looking into the case, but have not reopened it.

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