French Sec. of State Would Consider Asylum for Julian Assange

Craig Murray

If Sweden also makes an extradition request, it would be up to Britain's Home Secretary to determine which would take priority.

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

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has exchanged a small room at the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London for a cell at Belmarsh Prison, a grim institution in the southeast part of the city where he nevertheless has certain advantages he didn't have when he was holed up, hiding from the law.

Assange spent nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought political asylum in 2012 after failing in his legal battle against extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted over two separate allegations, one of rape and one of molestation.

The MPs note that the investigation in Sweden was "discontinued only because of Assange's unavailability" while he was inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the woman who reported being raped by Assange, told The Associated Press that she would "do everything" to have the Swedish case reopened so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted.

"A kneejerk response that presumes that hacking is acceptable if the perpetrators can claim that their motives were journalistic is particularly risky when it emanates from those aspiring to become prime minister or home secretary, such as Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott".

A group of British politicians has urged the British government against prioritizing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States.

The U.S. indictment filed in March 2018 said Assange, in March 2010, engaged in a conspiracy to help Manning crack a password stored on Defense Department computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.

Regardless, Assange will have to serve any prison sentence for skipping bail in 2012 for the sexual assault and rape allegations, which a judge will determine at a later date.

She said they had not received any prior notice of it and called on Swedish authorities to reopen the case.

Extradition lawyer Ben Keith said the court will not assess the evidence against Assange in an effort to determine his guilt or innocence, but will scrutinise whether the offence he is accused of in the US would be a crime in Britain. "Julian's spirit stays strong", Mrs Assange said in a tweet to "warriors" for her son.

However, lawyer Rebecca Niblock said that, if Sweden made an extradition request, it would be for the home secretary to decide which would take precedence, considering factors such as which was made first and the seriousness of the offence.

US government prosecutors had better tread lightly in bringing Assange to the sort of justice demanded by readers of The New York Times - which is to say: lock him up in some SuperMax solitary hellhole and throw away the key.

Some Labour members fear their leadership's instinctive support for Assange is an insult to victims of sex attacks who demand their claims be fully investigated.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Sweden have confirmed that while the investigation has not yet been officially resumed, they are looking into the case.

However, under British law the United States has until June 12 to submit full extradition papers.

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