Assange expects ‘Guantanamo’ or ‘death’ if extradited

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues to resist extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden for questioning regarding alleged sex crimes, expressing a fear of subsequent charges in the United States.

In a draft legal defense released by Assange’s lawyers, the case is made that ultimate extradition to the United States could lead to violations of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article bans torture, and is used to prevent extradition to countries implementing the death penalty.

Sweden, the argument alleges, has historically violated the prohibition on extradition to countries that torture, citing two cases of rendition to Egypt.

“It is submitted that there is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the US will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, in conditions which would breach Article 3 of the ECHR,” the document says.

Assange’s lawyers contend, “there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty.”

Listed in support of his lawyers’ argument are statements made by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“Sarah Palin, the former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, has said that Mr. Assange ‘should be hunted down just like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders,’” notes the document, and “Mick Huckabee, who is one of the favourites as Republican candidate, for the 2010 [sic] Presidential election has called for those responsible for the leaking of the US Embassy cables to be executed.”

Assange’s hearing on extradition to Sweden is scheduled for February 7-8. The draft defense repeatedly states Assange’s willingness to be interviewed outside of Sweden by prosecutors investigating the sexual allegations.