Is Julian Assange’s Arrest Really An Attempt To Get Him To The U.S. To Face Espionage Charges?
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London Tuesday on a Swedish warrant based on allegations of sexual assault, according to Scotland Yard.
The handover of Assange, who has been in hiding since his website released secret U.S. diplomatic cables, was pre-arranged. He appeared at Westminster Magistrate’s Court hours later and rejected voluntary extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors are seeking to question him about accusations of sexual offenses by two women earlier this year.
London police say Assange is “accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.” His British attorney Mark Stevens says the arrest stems from “consensual but unprotected sex.”
But is there more to the story than accusations of what one side says was consensual sex?
WikiLeaks said the arrest is an attack on media freedom and that it will not stop the release of more sensitive files. “Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal,” the site stated on its Twitter page.
Lawyers for Assange called the arrest a political stunt to ultimately get the 39-year-old Australian to the U.S., where he could face espionage charges.
The U.S. and Sweden have an extradition treaty that has been in force since 1963, but it does not cover the crime of espionage.Click here for reuse options!
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