As­sange ex­tra­di­tion urged if re­quested

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - – Deutsche Presse-Agen­tur

LON­DON – Seventy British law­mak­ers urged the govern­ment Satur­day to pri­or­i­tize Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange’s ex­tra­di­tion to Swe­den if pros­e­cu­tors re­open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of an al­leged rape there.

Stella Creasy of the op­po­si­tion Labour Party said the group wanted to “stand with vic­tims of sex­ual vi­o­lence,” amid con­cerns that the Swedish case could be side­lined as the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment fo­cuses on a U.S. ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for As­sange.

Creasy, who or­ga­nized an open let­ter from the group, urged British min­is­ters to be “cham­pi­ons of ac­tion to en­sure Ju­lian As­sange faces Swedish au­thor­i­ties and is ex­tra­dited there if they so re­quest.”

The rape al­le­ga­tion came after As­sange’s visit to Swe­den in 2010. He de­parted Swe­den for Bri­tain, and in 2012, he fled to the Ecuado­rian em­bassy in Lon­don after he lost a le­gal bat­tle against ex­tra­di­tion to Swe­den amid fears he would be handed over to the U.S. for Wik­iLeaks’ pub­li­ca­tion of top se­cret in­for­ma­tion. As­sange, an Aus­tralian na­tional, lived in the em­bassy for seven years un­til he was ousted Thurs­day.

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