Assange may be executed in US under Espionage Act if extradited to Sweden: Lawyers

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LONDON - The legal team of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has expressed fears that he could be forcefully taken to the United States and executed under the Espionage Act if he is extradited to Sweden.

Lawyers of Assange fear that Sweden could come under the US’ pressure or simply rely on diplomatic assurances and allow the 39-year-old founder of the whistleblower website to be taken across the Atlantic. They further urged the Australian government to request Sweden that he would not be transferred to any other country, the Daily Mail reports.

As Assange appeared before a district judge at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday, his lawyer Geoffrey Robertson presented legal papers claiming that the Australian-born journalist even faces the danger of being sent to the Guantanamo Bay.

“If Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk he could be made subject to the death penalty, which is provided for in the Espionage Act. It is well known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Assange should be executed,” the paper quoted Robertson, as saying.

During his hearing yesterday, Assange’s legal team had released a 74-page outline of their arguments against his extradition focussing on the status of Swedish officials, the validity of the European Arrest Warrant and claims that his human rights would be violated.

Assange faces three charges of sexually assaulting one woman and one charge of raping another during his week long visit to Stockholm in August last year.

He has been denying all charges against him and his supporters are of the opinion that his extradition request is unfair and politically motivated.

Assange and his website became globally recognised after Wikileaks released thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, creating controversy across the world. (ANI)

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