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December 7, 2021

Assange lawyers fear Guantanamo Bay sentence

LONDON – Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange argue that he could ultimately end up in Guantanamo Bay or be executed if he is extradited to Sweden to face questioning about sex allegations, according to papers they released Monday, quoted by CNN. If Britain extradites him to Sweden, the Nordic country could in turn send him to the United States to face espionage charges, the lawyers argue.

They were making their case in a two-day extradition hearing that opened Monday in a London court. Prosecutors in Sweden want him for questioning in connection with sexual misconduct allegations unrelated to WikiLeaks.

Assange has denied the allegations, and is free on 200,000 pounds (USD 310,000) bail while he fights extradition. Prosecutor Clare Montgomery, representing Sweden, dismissed the defense claim that Sweden would hand Assange over to the United States.

The “suggestion that Sweden provides no protection against human rights violations is unfounded,” she argued, adding that Britain would have the right to intervene if Washington asked Sweden for Assange. The British courts are requiring Assange to stay at the mansion of a supporter outside London each night and check in daily with police. He is also required to wear an electronic tag to monitor his location.

Assange’s website, which facilitates the leaking of secret information, has released hundreds of thousands of pages of U.S. military and diplomatic documents for most of the past year. Assange looked relaxed as proceedings opened in the hearing. Celebrity supporters including campaigner Bianca Jagger and former lawmaker Tony Benn sat in the public gallery.

His lawyers argue that Assange would be at risk of mistreatment or even execution, according to an outline of their defense published on their website, saying that means Britain cannot extradite him without violating his human rights. “There is a real risk he could be made subject to the death penalty,” Assange lawyers say, citing British media reports that Republican politicians Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have called for him to be executed. They also say he should not be sent to Sweden because rape trials there are held behind closed doors, while British trials are open.

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