If I Were Julian Assange, I Wouldn’t Want to be Extradited to the United States Either

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London because he doesn’t want to be turned over to Sweden, where he faces charges of sexual assault. However, Assange says he’s not trying to evade Swedish justice. He just wants assurances that Sweden won’t extradite him to the United States as soon as their investigation is finished. Via Glenn Greenwald, Alan McIntosh suggests a possible solution:

If Assange leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy then he is likely to be arrested for breaking his bail conditions. This would provide the UK Government with two options: first they postpone the surrender of Assange to the Swedish authorities until he is prosecuted for breach of bail; or alternatively they surrender him but enter an agreement with the Swedish authorities that once proceedings are complete (which would include the serving of any sentence) Assange will be returned to the UK for trial.

This is permitted under Article 24(2) of the European Council Framework Decision on European Arrest Warrants. The UK could then give assurances that it would refuse consent to any application to remove Assange from Sweden as that would breach the agreement and the UK’s consent is required under Article 28 (4).

If the UK Government is to believed, it is only extraditing Assange as it has a legal obligation to; if the Swedish Government is believed it wants to investigate the allegations that have been made; and if Assange is to be believed he is prepared to go back, but doesn’t want a bag over his head and to be wearing an orange jumpsuit whilst tied to a gurney.

So that’s that.

The assault charges against Assange have always been hard to get a handle on. On the one hand, you can’t ignore them. They have to be investigated. On the other hand, the timing has always seemed weirdly convenient. After an entire lifetime of apparently not sexually assaulting women, suddenly there were two separate charges coming right at the time that WikiLeaks began releasing confidential U.S. cables and videos.

But regardless of what you think of that, Assange’s fear of being extradited to the U.S. seems pretty reasonable. What’s more, I have little doubt that if the UK and Sweden really wanted to, they could figure out a way of giving Assange the assurance against extradition that he wants. I’ll bet they’d do it if it were someone worried about being extradited to China. I can’t pretend to know everything that’s going on here, but still, common sense suggests that the fact that both the UK and Sweden are stonewalling is telling.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate