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Montevideo, May 27th 2018 - 03:38 UTC

Sweden will not extradite Assange if he faces death penalty in the US

Tuesday, August 21st 2012 - 20:40 UTC
Full article 64 comments
Assaange remains at the Ecuadorian embassy surrounded by London police Assaange remains at the Ecuadorian embassy surrounded by London police

The Swedish government will not extradite Julian Assange to the US should he face the death penalty there, as any possible extradition request from Washington is then subject to strict conditions, an official from the country’s Justice Ministry.

¬“We will never surrender a person to the death penalty,” the deputy director of the Service for Criminal Cases and International Cooperation of Sweden’s Justice Ministry said in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper on Tuesday.

This means there should be strict guarantees from the US government that “the prisoner will not be executed in any case,” added Cecilia Riddselius. But so far her country has not received any extradition request from Washington.

In June, Cecilia Riddselius admitted there were opportunities for countries to request different types of guarantees in relation to extradition. Sweden may request that an extradited person will not be sentenced to the death penalty, he or she will not be tortured, should not be prosecuted for offences other than those which he or she was delivered for and not to be charged before a special court.

However, Riddselius then stressed, Sweden cannot guarantee in advance that Assange will not be extradited.

The WikiLeaks founder is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual misconduct. He and his supporters, however, fear that if extradited to Sweden, he may be further extradited to the United States, where he could then face the death penalty for espionage following the publication of thousands of classified documents, including secret cables of the US State Department.

Last week, the Ecuadorian government announced it has granted the world-famous whistleblower political asylum. The decision came almost two months after Assange took refuge in the country’s London embassy seeking protection from extradition to Sweden.

The decision has already become the epicenter of a diplomatic row between Ecuador and Great Britain, with London threatening to storm the embassy. Ecuador has already taken the issue to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which unanimously backed the country’s right to grant Assange asylum and condemned British threats to raid a sovereign state’s embassy in order to arrest him.

On Friday the issue will also be addressed at the Organization of American States, OAS, during an extraordinary meeting of Foreign ministers. The agenda for the day refers to the “inviolability” of diplomatic and consular premises but could lead to a heated debate between the US and some Latam countries that are demanding an explicit condemnation of the UK for its threats to storm the embassy in London.

Ecuador also promised to appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if the UK refuses to grant Julian Assange safe passage out of the country. According to WikiLeaks, all of this could be avoided if they managed to obtain a guarantee of no re-extradition from Sweden.

A spokesperson for WikiLeaks stressed that Assange would “gladly go to Sweden for questioning if they were able to guarantee that [he] wouldn’t be extradited to the United States”.

While deciding on Assange’s political asylum Ecuador also offered Sweden the chance to question him at the embassy, but Stockholm brushed away the possibility.

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  • reality check

    The Swedish are only stating what everyone, even Assange, knew in the first place.

    Assange went over there to see if he could obtain a work and residents permit, why? to take advantage of their laws that protect whistle blowers. He went there because he knew they would not hand him to the yanks if he continued to run Wikileaks from there!In all probabilty they would have he would have got them, if he had not screwed up, no pun intended.
    Now he has audacity to play the extradition card to avoid rape allegations.

    Aug 21st, 2012 - 08:55 pm 0
  • PirateLove

    this will not change a damn thing, assmange you are stil a suspected rapist, and you will be tried as such sooner or later, his choice....for now, man up and face the music sex offender, think of your victims!

    Aug 21st, 2012 - 09:10 pm 0
  • Guzz

    There you go, Sweden showing her true face, this would mean Sweden will extradite Assange for sure. Life for espionage?

    Aug 21st, 2012 - 09:15 pm 0
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