Julian Assange should face justice in Sweden: U.K. lawmakers

More than 70 MPs and peers - mostly from the opposition Labour Party - wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for the 47-year-old whistleblower to be extradited to Sweden if Swedish prosecutors reopen a rape inquiry against him. Mr Assange spent nearly seven years in the embassy in London where he sought political asylum in 2012 when he failed in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden.

"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.

But Labour leader Mr Corbyn said Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face a charge of conspiring with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.

The U.S. indictment filed in March 2018 said Assange, in March 2010, engaged in a conspiracy to help Manning crack a password stored on Defense Department computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.

If Britain receives competing extradition requests, lawyers say the Home Secretary would have some leeway in deciding which takes priority.

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.

United States prosecutors have just under two months to present British authorities with a final and detailed criminal case to justify Julian Assange's possible extradition, a USA government official says.

According to the Home Office, the home secretary can bring a limited number of factors into consideration when deciding whether to order a person's extradition.

Assange's lawyer has previously said he planned to fight any US charges against him.

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. They fear that U.S. charges - relating to Wikileaks' disclosures - may be given priority in the UK.

She said they had not received any prior notice of it and called on Swedish authorities to reopen the case.

Some of the sexual misconduct accusations are no longer viable because their time ran out.

The prosecution service said it did not have a timetable for when any decisions on the case would be made, but added the statute for limitations would not expire until August 2020.

Assange's lawyers meanwhile confirmed that USA prosecutors have 65 days to submit a full set of charges, raising the prospect of additional criminal allegations being introduced that would result in a far longer sentence.

After news broke that Assange had been arrested, the lawyer for the woman who accused him of rape tweeted that she and her client were shocked, but said they'd been hoping for it since 2012.


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