British MPs urge government to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden

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Ecuador blew through almost a million dollars a year hosting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London, officials revealed Saturday.

Assange was arrested on Thursday at Ecuador's London embassy on allegations of skipping bail, and on a US extradition warrant related to a huge leak of official documents.

"There have been some decisions in the UK courts in which the courts have been very cautious about requests by the United States, in particular because the United States has a habit of extraditing people and then when they get to America then they decide to charge them with further offences", he said.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations - a necessary step in proceeding with the case - while he remained in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Most of the lawmakers who signed the letter are from the opposition Labour Party, whose leader, Jeremy Corbyn, wants Britain to refuse to send Assange to the U.S. After Assange's arrest, Corbyn praised him for exposing U.S. atrocities committed in Iraq and Afghanistan when WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of confidential U.S. documents in 2010.

Following Assange's arrest in London on an unrelated USA hacking charge, Clinton said that he should be held responsible.

On Thursday, the day Assange was pulled from the Ecuadorean embassy after...

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Extradition lawyer Ben Keith said the court will not assess the evidence against Assange to determine his guilt or innocence but will scrutinize whether the offence he is accused of in the US would be a crime in Britain.

Sarah Green, co-director of End Violence Against Women, an alliance of more than 80 organisations, said Assange's portrayal by some as a victim was an affront to rape survivors.

"In this case, the suspected crime of rape would be subject to statute of limitation in mid-August 2020".

Should the extradition of Mr Assange go through, it would set a awful precedent, eroding the progress made by press freedom campaigners to democratise access to information and its attendant redistribution of power to the people.

"You read the testimony and concerns of the women who have been involved, I have no view on the matter because it must come before a court, but it seems essential to me that he should face justice for what he has been accused of", Burt said.

When he took up residence inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012, it was to avoid answering the sexual allegations against him in Sweden, which had sought his extradition for questioning. He could be jailed for up to a year when he is sentenced at a later date.

But Assange's legal adviser Greg Burns, says it is by no means certain that the United Kingdom will comply with the request.

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