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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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