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ASSANGE EXTRADITION FIGHT
Julian Assange to address world media

Julian Assange to address world media

Published: 19 Aug 2012 08:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Aug 2012 08:51 GMT+02:00

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to face the world's media on Sunday to comment on the latest developments in his fight to evade extradition to Sweden to answer rape and sexual assault allegations.

Assange is due to talk from the safe haven of London's Ecuadoran embassy but risks arrest if he takes even one step out of the building.

With police officers primed to detain him, Assange must find a way of speaking publicly without setting foot outside, raising the possibility of him being forced to speak from a balcony or lean out of a window.

WikiLeaks was tight-lipped about the logistics of Assange's planned appearance at 1300 GMT, with spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson telling AFP what little he knew could not be discussed for "security reasons".

But Britain's Foreign Office warned that the steps to the embassy were considered British territory while police said officers would take "appropriate" action" if he strayed from the building.

Assange, 41, took refuge in the embassy on June 19th to evade extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged rape and sexual molestation.

Supporters of the Australian former hacker, granted asylum by Ecuador on Thursday, believe that once in Sweden he could be extradited to the United

States.

Assange's mother expressed confidence Sunday that her son would make it to Ecuador to continue his whistleblowing work despite a tense diplomatic standoff over his asylum.

Asked whether she thought it was realistic Assange would make it to Ecuador Christine Assange said: "I think it is very realistic."

"He's had billions of people around the world supporting him, the US and their allies are almost alone on this one and the support grows day by day," she told ABC 24 from the Gold Coast.

"It could be that the UK government decides to backtrack from this position of being the US lap dog and stands up for its own sovereignty as well as the sovereignty of Ecuador."

WikiLeaks' publication of a vast cache of confidential government files has enraged the US government and his backers fear he could be tried on espionage charges there and face the death penalty.

WikiLeaks announced on Twitter late Saturday that the renowned Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzon would speak outside the embassy from 1030 GMT on Sunday.

Garzon, known for pursuing Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet, is helping Assange's defence.

Despite Ecuador providing a haven for Assange, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Britain has no choice but to seek his extradition.

In line with normal diplomatic practice, embassies are considered the territory of the countries they represent and the host country must seek permission to enter the premises.

Britain has angered Ecuador by suggesting it could invoke the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987, which it says allows it to revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy on British soil and go in to arrest Assange.

Fewer than 10 police officers and a handful of Assange supporters stood outside the embassy on Saturday.

Vaughan Smith, who invited Assange to stay at his home -- Ellingham Hall in Norfolk in eastern England -- for more than a year while he took his case to the Supreme Court, said he visited the Australian at the embassy three days ago.

"He lives in a small room which can hardly be described as comfortable," he told London's Evening Standard newspaper, adding, however, that he was "happiest behind a computer doing his job" and was coping well.

Ecuador meanwhile received powerful backing from regional allies as they warned Britain of "grave consequences" if it breaches diplomatic security at Ecuador's embassy.

Quito had called on its allies from the Venezuela-led so-called Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA), whose foreign ministers flew to the Ecuadoran economic capital of Guayaquil and displayed full diplomatic support.

"We warn the government of the United Kingdom that it will face grave consequences around the world if it directly breaches the territorial integrity of the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London," said a statement issued at the end of the ALBA meeting Saturday.

It also rejected Britain's "threats vis-a-vis our territorial integrity and sovereignty".

The regional group, which also includes Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua as well as a number of smaller Caribbean nations, expressed its "categorical support for Ecuador's sovereign right" to grant asylum to Assange and urged other world nations to reject what it called "Britain's attempts to impose its will by force."

ALBA nations also called on the United Nations to discuss the issue of inviolability of diplomatic installations around the world.

Media reports on Saturday said Australian diplomats believed Washington was targeting Assange for possible prosecution on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to his WikiLeaks whistleblowing site.

But one expert said he believed this was unlikely.

"There is a dose of fantasy in all this," said Chris Brown, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics.

"The chances of him being extradited to the US from Sweden are non-existent. If the Americans really want him, they would have asked us (Britain) for him," he told AFP.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of US military documents on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables that deeply embarrassed Washington.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:18 August 19, 2012 by grymagnusson
Are the rape and sexual assault allegations part of a US backed CIA conspiracy?

No they are not and it is delusion to think otherwise.

Are the rape and sexual assault allegations erroneous?

Quite possibly. But until JA cooperates with the investigation the matter can't be resolved.

I know it can be hard to "look behind the rock" on this one, but that is the only thing that matters here in relation to JA's extradition to Sweden.

The rest - however true, feasible, imagined or fantastical - is the plot to an entirely different movie.

It is possible to be US public enemy number 1 (well, perhaps 10) and also be a common criminal. The two don't have to be linked, just because you want them to.
10:17 August 19, 2012 by smilingjack
1 - perhaps you should read a little more. number 1 he isnt a common criminal. he hasnt been charged with anything. number 2 - under freedom of information laws in australia documents have been released showing that absolutely the USA wants JA and are looking at a series of charges which all carry life imprisonment. They are formalising the legal means to do it. the second he lobs in sweden the sycophantic government here would hand him straight to the yanks. the USA government who daily rant and rave about atrocities around the world ( whilst committing 10x more the rest of the world combined ). Its so laughable they "condemned in the strongest terms" the jailing of the pussy riot girls whilst sentencing a teacher in the USA for having consensual sex with men over 18 to 5 years in jail. Everything that comes out of the giant media machine the USA is and endless stream of bXllshit. The USA is the worst of the worst for causing death, pain and suffering world wide.
10:30 August 19, 2012 by BackpackerKev
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:51 August 19, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Smilingjack, he IS a common criminal. He already has 25 convictions under his belt in Australia.
12:00 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
Barock and roll - if you disagree that naming alleged victims of sexual assault (together with the rubbish back-of-envelope liar theories that go with this) is not mobbing then please explain why this is.

One of them is now apparently "the most hated woman on the internet" .
12:11 August 19, 2012 by skogsbo
it's turning into a freak show, next Uri Geller will turn up as his new best friend, as Assange will declare that one of his best friend was Micheal Jackson. You will notice that some of the more credible people who kindly put up his bail money, have finally seen him for what he is and are now giving the whole proceedings a very wide berth.
12:20 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
Barock and roll - pity. I was looking forward to you providing a first principles argument.
12:42 August 19, 2012 by rise
Bah! The only thing JA is after, is the attention. Now he may be trapped at the embassy but that is only of secondary importance. The main thing, the most important one, is that he's getting all of the attention focused on him and his person. Not only does such a person need it; people like him are dependent of it; it's what keeps them going. Bad reputation, good reputation, it doesn't matter for as long as he's succeeding in keeping himself in the center.
13:01 August 19, 2012 by Smokebox
What a worm of a man!!!!!!
13:19 August 19, 2012 by entry
There is no truth to the rumors that the incarcerated Russian hooligans 'Puççy Riot' have met with Juliann's mommy and have agreed to engage in a hunger strike while coordinating provocative exhibitions in the most holy of locations within mosques, churches & temples throughout Europe & the middle-east. (When will this circus fold up tents and call it a day already?) -Paul
13:34 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
I hope he'll explain why he fears being sent to the US by Sweden and not the UK. Given that he'll be surrounded by the UK police when he makes the speech it will add a certain irony to the whole thing.

BTW - can one of the JA fans here please point out why he needs to go via Sweden to the US and why the Brits wouldn't do the job themselves. It defies logic somewhat (then again, this is the hallmark of conspiracy theories).
13:40 August 19, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Ecuador also has an extradition treaty with the US. Just saying ...
13:55 August 19, 2012 by riose
The US wants to extradite from Sweden because the process is automatic. No reason needed. In the UK the request must be approved by the House of Lords.

It is a shame that UK is acting like this after what happened with Pinochet. Shameful.
14:08 August 19, 2012 by entry
Such a big fuss about nothing. Juliann is in the UK with his mommy. Maybe he is guilty of rape and sexual assault of a few women in Sweden. I don't know. He could have even dropped a passenger plane down on the heads of the citizens of Lockerbie and his mommy could still take him home by the hand after a short period of time. Just get it done! This is just stupid and only highlights the farce of the justice system. -Paul
14:09 August 19, 2012 by Coaxen
To all the Wikileaks haters: Thank you for wasting your time on those comment threads. The world is better off with you busy rambling inane mantras to yourselves.
14:20 August 19, 2012 by Morseman
In English law, before a suspect can be sent for trial, there must be an arraignment. At this hearing the suspect is brought before a magistrate, who listens to the evidence and decides whether there is a prima facie case. If there is not sufficient evidence, the suspect must be released. With the wholly inadequate extradition treaties the UK has signed up to, it appears sufficient for a foreign prosecutor to say she has enough evidence, and the suspect is then arrested, held with criminals and sent to a foreign country. Extradition should require at least the same standard before a magistrate as a suspect to be prosecuted under English law. We are all at risk. Even you in Sweden. We must revise the extradition treaties and the European arrest warrant.
14:32 August 19, 2012 by entry
@14:20 August 19, 2012 by Morseman

If in the European Unions; rapists, murders and child molesters only need to slip from one country to the next in order to escape prosecution strict border controls need to be put in place and free movement from one European Nation to the next must stop. Currently Sweden and the UK are separate nations but members of the EU. While many feel that JA is above the laws of our individual nations and those of the EU, special unique laws have not been created as of yet that are exclusive to wikileaks founders. He is to be treated just as anyone else wanted for questioning regarding crimes committed/alleged in our lands.
15:01 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
@riose

You write that extraditiogn to the US is automatic from Sweden. Where did you get that from i.e. please provide *unbiased* sources ? In this is indeed true then why has the US airman who deserted not been brought back ?

Sounds to me like you're making things up.
15:11 August 19, 2012 by philster61
William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Smilingjack, he IS a common criminal. He already has 25 convictions under his belt in Australia

Oh? I have yet to see anything coming out of Australia regarding that? Name your sources.....
15:25 August 19, 2012 by Morseman
@entry

Thank you for that contribution, I understand your point of view. But imagine this: you have been on vacation to a south EU country. Weeks or months later, an arrest warrant is issued for you by that country, because a local prosecutor claims to have evidence that you committed a crime in that country. Is that sufficient for you to be arrested in Sweden, sent to that south EU country, where you will be held in cells packed with criminals in appalling conditions for months, possibly years, while their antiquated legal machinery grinds along? We need a higher standard of evidence of a prima facie case. Human liberty is our most treasured possession after our health.
15:35 August 19, 2012 by entry
@15:25 August 19, 2012 by Morseman

"Weeks or months later, an arrest warrant is issued for you by that country, because a local prosecutor claims to have evidence that you committed a crime in that country. Is that sufficient for you to be arrested in Sweden, sent to that south EU country[?]"

Yes!

We either have an EU with common rights & laws that apply to everyone or we disband the EU, close all the borders and have individual treaties with former member states. -Paul
16:36 August 19, 2012 by smilingjack
sydney morning herald. biggest publication in australia.

"Julian Assange continues to be the subject of Australian intelligence reports more than a year after the WikiLeaks website published thousands of leaked US military and diplomatic documents.

In a recent freedom of information decision, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to Fairfax Media the existence of at least two intelligence reports concerning WikiLeaks and Mr Assange from Australia's embassy to the US in February and March this year.

The secret Washington embassy cables, one running to 10 pages, have been withheld from release because they are "intelligence agency documents".

Yesterday, the Herald reported that Australia's ambassador to the US, the former Labor leader Kim Beazley, had made high-level representations seeking advance warning of any US moves to extradite Mr Assange on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining secret US information."

"But, as the Herald revealed yesterday, Australia's Washington embassy reported in February that "the US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year". A spokesman for Senator Carr acknowledged yesterday that WikiLeaks could be linked to that investigation"
17:32 August 19, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
'Oh? I have yet to see anything coming out of Australia regarding that? Name your sources..... '

R v Julian Paul Assange [1996] VSC 60
18:24 August 19, 2012 by unionisten
smilingjack ofcorse Mr Assange havent been Charged with anything and since you have such a poor understanding of Sedish law I will enlighten you.

you can not be charged with anything until you have been questioned by the police.

infact the word charged hasnt a eqvilent word in swedish law system.

so when the Julian Fanatics rant about that he hasnt been charged with anything they are just playing with words.

Julian should pack his bags and head to sweden to be questioned.
05:06 August 22, 2012 by James Seastrom
How many Assange fans would want their sister or daughter to date the man?
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