France could offer Julian Assange political asylum

Posted April 14, 2019

The letter, signed late on Friday by mostly Labour Party MPs, urged UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid to "stand with the victims of sexual violence" and ensure the rape claim against him can be "properly investigated". In 2012, Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of the allegations - a necessary step in proceeding with the case - while he remained in the Ecuadorian embassy.

The 47-year-old faces up to 12 months in a British prison after he was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions, while the US charge could attract a maximum jail sentence of five years, according to the US Department of Justice.

After Assange was arrested and dragged into a police van in the British capital, American officials unsealed an indictment against him for computer hacking as part of his WikiLeaks whistleblowing activities.

Assange's mother, Christine Assange, also took to Twitter to defend her son, who she said was "sick and in pain from prolonged detention and torture".

Parliamentarians urge Government to ensure Assange can be extradited to Sweden
On occasions, when there are competing extradition requests, the home secretary decides which country should take priority. Newly arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs to "answer for what he has done", Hillary Clinton said on April 11.

I've just been with Mr. Assange in the police cells.

She said they had not received any prior notice of it and called on Swedish authorities to reopen the case.

In a tongue-in-cheek nod to Trump's hard-line immigration stance, Clinton added, "I do think it's a little ironic that he's the only foreigner this administration would welcome to the United States".

It follows confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Service that in the event of competing extradition requests for the same person, it falls to the home secretary to decide which one goes first. But after seven years, Ecuador abruptly withdrew its asylum and invited the police to arrest him on Thursday.

Following his arrest, Assange, with grey hair tied into a pony tail and sporting a long beard, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court, where a judge accused him of behaving like a "narcissist".

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Meanwhile, prosecutors in Sweden have confirmed that while the investigation has not yet been officially resumed, they are looking into the case.

Assange's next court appearance was set for May 2 via prison video-link in relation to the extradition case, a process that involves several layers of appeal that could take several years.

In a Friday interview with CNN, US Vice President Mike Pence said the United States was "going to bring Julian Assange to justice".

Assange has always denied the allegations, which he feared would lead to him being extradited to the United States and facing trial over the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents in 2010, which brought WikiLeaks to prominence.

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