Wikileaks founder fights back

 

There
is a risk of “flagrant denial of justice” if Wikileaks founder Julian
Assange is tried for rape in Sweden, his lawyer has told a UK court.

Geoffrey
Robertson QC fears his client could face the death penalty if extradited to the
US on separate charges relating to Wikileaks.

Prosecutors
say if there was a threat of unfair treatment, the European Court of Human
Rights would intervene.

Mr
Assange, 39, denies claims of sexual assault against two women.

His
lawyers told the extradition hearing in London he was “willing and
able” to co-operate with Swedish authorities, so no arrest warrant was
needed.

They
said the European Arrest Warrant under which he had been detained was invalid
because he had not yet been charged.

Mr
Robertson told Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court there was a risk his client could be
extradited to the US, or even Guantanamo Bay, and could face the death penalty
as a result.

In
a document released by the defence team, they argued that:

Swedish
prosecutor Marianne Nye is “not eligible” or an appropriate “judicial
authority” to issue a European Arrest Warrant

The
Swedes are guilty of an “abuse of process” as they have not demonstrated
any intention to charge or prosecute Mr Assange

The
application for a warrant is “disproportionate” as he is willing to
co-operate and be interviewed by phone, e-mail or video link

The
arrest warrant paperwork is not valid as it does not “unequivocally”
state that he is wanted for prosecution

The
offences Mr Assange faces – unlawful coercion and sexual molestation – are not
criminal acts under British law; and

Extraditing
Mr Assange to Sweden would be a “real risk of a flagrant denial of
justice” and a “blatant breach” of British constitutional
principles.

Mr
Robertson also argued that the extensive press coverage surrounding events
risked a “trial by media”.

The
extradition hearing will continue today, Tuesday.

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