Monday, 22 April, 2019

Julian Assange may still face rape charge in Sweden, prosecutors say

Protest outside Assange trial at Westminster Magistrates Court Protest outside Assange trial at Westminster Magistrates Court
Leonard Rios | 14 April, 2019, 03:25

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has exchanged a small room at the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London for a cell at Belmarsh Prison, a grim institution in the southeast part of the city where he nevertheless has certain advantages he didn't have when he was holed up, hiding from the law.

Since 2012, Assange had been residing in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced a probe over allegations of sexual assault.

In the letter sent on Friday to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, which was tweeted by Labour politician Stella Creasy, more than 70 MPs called on him "to stand with the victims of sexual violence".

"If the Swedish government wants to come forward with those charges, I believe that Assange should face the criminal justice system", said Abbott, who added that the arrest was politically motivated as WikiLeaks has published enormous tranches of sensitive military information.

The sexual assault claim expired in 2015 and Swedish prosecutors dropped a preliminary investigation into the rape allegation in 2017, arguing that since Assange could not be reached, they could not proceed.

Assange allegedly helped former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning hack into the U.S. Defense Department in 2010.

Diane Abbott, Labour's spokeswoman for domestic affairs, told Parliament: "It is this whistle-blowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the cross hairs of the US administration".

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The prime minister has served for roughly 13 years, in stints from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009 until the present. In the Israeli system, a governing coalition needs at least 61 seats in the 120-seat the Knesset (parliament).

The Australian was arrested "on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court", before being "further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station".

Assange, who founded the whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks, was dragged out of the embassy yesterday after Ecuador withdrew his right to asylum.

Assange denies both allegations. The battle between Assange and the US government was always going to be epic, involving concepts like free speech, journalists' rights, national interests, even treason.

He said a Grand Jury investigation included charges which could lead to decades in prison or even the death penalty under the Espionage Act 1917, although UK Government policy is to block extradition to countries where suspects might face capital punishment. People in power don't like that, so therefore we have to silence it. OK?

The 47-year-old Assange has extreme shoulder pain and tooth pain, Hrafnsson said. He could be jailed for up to a year when he is sentenced at a later date.

Assange's London lawyer Jennifer Robinson said: "He's obviously going to fight extradition and fight it hard". He also sought refuge because of fears that Sweden would ultimately extradite him to the U.S.

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