WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his entourage of lawyers, supporters, protesters and journalists are headed back to a London court for a showdown between the secret-spilling computer hacker and Swedish authorities who want him extradited to face sex crimes allegations.
A two-day hearing that begins Monday will decide Mr. Assange's legal fate. It will also keep the spotlight away from WikiLeaks' revelations and on its opinion-dividing frontman.
Mr. Assange is accused of sexual misconduct by two women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year. At Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, a high-security judicial outpost beside a prison, defense lawyers will argue that he should not be extradited because he has not been charged with a crime, because of flaws in Swedish prosecutors' case – and because a ticket to Sweden could land him in Guantanamo Bay or on U.S. death row.
American officials are trying to build a criminal case against WikiLeaks, which has angered Washington by publishing a trove of leaked diplomatic cables and secret U.S. military files. Mr. Assange's lawyers claim the Swedish prosecution is linked to the leaks and politically motivated.
Preliminary defense arguments released by Mr. Assange's legal team claim “there is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere.”
The document adds that “there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty” if sent to the United States. Under European law, suspects cannot be extradited to jurisdictions where they may face execution.
Many legal experts say the Guantanamo claims are fanciful, and Sweden strongly denies coming under American pressure.
Nils Rekke, head of the legal department at the Swedish prosecutor's office in Stockholm, said Mr. Assange would be protected from transfer to the U.S. by strict European rules.
“If Assange was handed over to Sweden in accordance with the European Arrest Warrant, Sweden cannot do as Sweden likes after that,” he said. “If there were any questions of an extradition approach from the U.S., then Sweden would have to get an approval from the United Kingdom.”
Mr. Assange's lawyers will also battle extradition on the ground that he has not been charged with a crime in Sweden and is only wanted for questioning.
They argue that “it is a well-established principle of extradition law ... that mere suspicion should not found a request for extradition.”
Lawyers for Sweden have yet to disclose their legal arguments.
WikiLeaks sparked an international uproar last year when it published a secret helicopter video showing a U.S. attack that killed two Reuters journalists in Baghdad. It went on to release hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it later began publishing classified U.S. diplomatic cables whose revelations angered and embarrassed the U.S. and its allies.
The furor made Mr. Assange, 39, a global celebrity. The nomadic Australian was arrested in London in December after Sweden issued a warrant on rape and molestation accusations.
Released on bail on condition he live – under curfew and electronically tagged – at a supporter's country mansion in eastern England, Mr. Assange has managed to conduct multiple media interviews, sign a reported $1.5-million deal for a memoir, and pose for a magazine Christmas photo shoot dressed as Santa Claus.
He drew a large media scrum at a brief court appearance in London last month, where he vowed to step up the leak of a quarter million classified U.S. diplomatic cables.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Julian Assange first had "consensual PROTECTED sex", he later, had, without
consent, UNPROTECTED SEX.
This is similar to a woman consenting to sex with one twin and another twin climbing into bed and letting the woman think its the twin she consented to.
It's not "minor rape" its RAPE.
You have to read Julian's web site and see how he describes himself.
"likes creating children, the odd criminal conspiracy" , that is, he was looking for, "UNPROTECTED SEX" but, all the women he met, knew he was a womanizer, be it a real dud, the worst sex they had ever had, "quote".
The ladies did not press charges, they wanted him simply to get a HIV test, they all now live in terror of having been given HIV or at least, a nasty STD.
Its when you consider, the terror he has put these women too, AFTER the event, that you realize what the true personality of Assange.
Put that with his borderline selfish personality as described by those closest to him and you have the makings of a guy who is a real Australian Wombat, who eats roots and leaves.
Assange needs to be deported to Sweden on the next flight.
As for his fear of being deported to the United States, Sweden has said that the UK will have a say in that if it ever occurs.
Another problem for Assange is that his claims of the Rape Charges being a US conspiracy is all hogwash, the ladies concerned never laid charges, they were all way out to LEFT field of the way Socialist left. Their odds of being American spies is improbable at best.
IF Assange wants to cry about the pre-trial publicity, he is entirely to blame for it himself by failing to meet with the Swedish prosecutors when he agreed to, and by "shooting thru" to England , two days before his agreed upon meeting with police.
HE FLED SWEDEN, and its a guilty act if ever they was one.
The second admission of guilt, is his FAILURE to honour the request of the ladies to go and get an HIV TEST and that begs the question as to exacty why he does not wish to have the test.
Makes you wonder why the UK court has not already deported this most probable carrier of a very nasty STD or a serious danger of having HIV, something any leftist woman should think about before having sex with the worlds most famous dud in bed, Julian Assange.