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Julian Assange: MPs urge government to extradite WikiLeaks founder to Sweden | Politics News



Around 70 MPs have signed a letter urging the government to make sure Julian Assange faces Swedish authorities, if the country requests his extradition.

Labour MP Stella Creasy shared the letter on Twitter, which has been sent to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

It says: “We are writing to request that you do everything you can to champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event Sweden make an extradition request.

“This would be so the formal investigation into an allegation of rape can be concluded and, if appropriate, a charge can be made and any trial can take place.

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“We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done.

“We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated.”

The Australian, 47, is facing allegations of rape in Sweden, but they expire next August.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has said the UK government must prioritise his accusers when deciding its next move, rather than a “ruse” to get him extradited to the US.

The founder of the WikiLeaks website is also facing extradition to the US on charges of conspiring to hack into a government computer with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Ms Thornberry tweeted: “Why weren’t Swedish authorities told in advance of Assange’s ejection from Ecuadorian embassy, as the US clearly was?

“Our priority should be the 2 alleged victims of sexual violence in Sweden & not a ruse to get him extradited to the US as a whistleblower.”

Assange was arrested on Thursday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had enjoyed diplomatic protection since June 2012.

He was removed from the embassy after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum – accusing him of interfering in international affairs and being discourteous to embassy staff.

Despite members of his own party calling for Assange’s extradition, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the government to block the move.

He said: “The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.”

Mr Corbyn was referring to WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified US military reports and diplomatic communications in 2010.

One video it published showed an American military helicopter firing on and killing civilians in Iraq in 2007.

Diane Abbott, Labour spokeswoman for domestic affairs, said Assange’s extradition should be blocked on human rights grounds.

She told the BBC that the case against him was about the “embarrassment of the things he’s revealed about the American military and security services”.

Ms Abbott added that he was a “whistleblower, and much of the information that he brought into the public domain, it could be argued, was very much in the public interest”.

America has just under two months to present Britain with a detailed case to justify Assange’s potential extradition, a US government official said on Friday.

Assange first sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after failing in his legal battle against his initial extradition to Sweden.

In May 2017, Swedish prosecutors dropped the inquiry into the rape claim against Assange – a claim he has always denied.

His arrest on Thursday has since prompted the lawyer for the woman who accused him of rape to ask for the case to be reopened.

Swedish prosecutors have confirmed that they are looking into the case, but have not reopened it.

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