Assange extradition urged if requested
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.