French Sec. of State Would Consider Asylum for Julian Assange

Erika Holt
April 14, 2019

Meanwhile a group of over 70 British MPs has urged the UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to give priority to Sweden over the United States, if the Swedish authorities request his extradition.

"We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done".

On Thursday, UK police finally arrested him at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has spent the last seven years.

But within 60 days from Thursday, when British police bundled Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he had taken refuge seven years ago, USA authorities must submit a formal request outlining all the legal charges Assange would face if he is transferred into US custody.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on the allegations.

But his arrest prompted the lawyer for a Swedish woman who alleged she was raped by Assange during a visit to Stockholm in 2010 to say they wanted the case reopened.

If found guilty of the USA charges, Assange could get five years in prison. British police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy for breaching bail issued in 2012 and on a U.S. extradition warrant issued in 2018.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a tweet that the trying to extradite Assange because he exposed "evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan".

The British MPs also noted that while Ecuador had warned British and U.S. officials that they would rescind Assange's asylum, Swedish authorities were kept in the dark.

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Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that Ecuador had made a decision to withdraw diplomatic asylum from Assange. WikiLeaks tweeted: "URGENT: Ecuador has illigally (sic) terminated Assange political asylum in violation of worldwide law".

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I've just been with Mr. Assange in the police cells.

"Regardless of where you stand on this, he must face these allegations in Sweden and clear his name if he thinks he's innocent", Maajid said.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations while he stayed in the embassy.

Relations with his Ecuadoran hosts gradually soured and new pro-US President Lenin Moreno on Thursday pulled his asylum and permitted British police to remove Assange.

Assange's lawyers meanwhile confirmed that United States prosecutors have 65 days to submit a full set of charges, raising the prospect of additional criminal allegations being introduced that would result in a far longer sentence. She said a request by Swedish authorities, however, shouldn't be ignored.

If Assange loses in extradition court, he could appeal several times and ultimately try to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights - unless Britain has left the European Union by that time.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott also faced criticism for appearing to down play allegations of rape and sexual assault against Mr Assange.

The country's ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, said that in the time Assange had remained in the embassy he had been disrespectful, "continually a problem" and interfered in elections, politics and the internal affairs of other countries.

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