Saying Extradition Fears Not 'Reasonable,' UK Judge Refuses to Lift Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange
Saying she did not find “reasonable” his fears of being extradicted to the United States, a British judge on Tuesday refused to lift an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, despite Sweden recently dropping its extradition request for the Wikileaks’ founder who has spent nearly five years living under asylum protection at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The Guardian reports:
After the ruling, Assange’s legal team indicated it would appeal the ruling. “Whether it is pursued is another question,” Gareth Peirce, one of his attorneys told reporters outside the court. “The history of the case from start to finish is extraordinary. Each aspect of it becomes puzzling and troubling as it is scrutinised.”
Over the weekend it was revealed, through a release of previously unseen internal government emails, that authorities in the UK pressured Sweden to keep its extradition request for Assange even when Swedish officials indicated as early as 2013 that they would prefer to drop it. “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!” a government lawyer told a Swedish counterpart when it was suggested Assange’s detention was not proportionate to the request he submit to questions from law enforcement. Though Assange said from the outset he would answer any questions regarding the sexual assault charges, he repeatedly said it was only his fear of a secret U.S. indictment, and either Sweden or the UK extradicting him to the U.S., that led him to seek refuge in the embassy.
As his attorney Jennifer Robinson again made clear on Tuesday: “It is time to acknowledge what the real issue is and has always been in this case: the risk of extradition to the US.”
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