Published: Wed, June 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Assange to remain in Britain as Swedish court rejects extradition request

Assange to remain in Britain as Swedish court rejects extradition request

The Uppsala District Court ruled that Assange doesn't need to be extradited to Sweden, but can be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in Britain, where he is now serving an 11-month sentence.

"As Julian Assange is now serving a prison sentence, the investigation can proceed with the help of a European investigation order, which does not require Julian Assange's detention [in Sweden]".

The ruling however doesn't mean a preliminary investigation in Sweden should be abandoned, only that Assange wouldn't be extradited and could be questioned in Britain.

In April 2019, Assange lost diplomatic immunity and was arrested by United Kingdom authorities, making it possible for Sweden to resume the investigation.

She had previously said she would request a European arrest warrant if Assange was detained in Sweden. "They had to take a position on a hard assessment issue, which I considered should be examined by a court", Ms Persson said.

Per Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, called the Uppsala court's decision a "big victory" for his client, who would "be happy" to learn he won't be extradited to Sweden. He said it was not proportionate to ask for someone's detention merely to conduct a questioning session.

He was subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail conditions when he took refuge in the embassy.

Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation in May a month after Assange was arrested and removed from the embassy.

The decision, however, does not mean that the prosecution must be terminated, Swedish News SVT reported.

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Assange denied the charges and also contested that there were grounds for detention, his lawyer, Per Samuelson, told the court.

Prosecutors had said they would issue a European Arrest Warrant if the request had been granted, but Uppsala District Court rejected the request on Monday.

"If you follow the law then it's very clear that this is how it's supposed to happen".

Any extradition request to Sweden, however, would have to compete with one from the United States, where Assange faces numerous charges of espionage.

He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison if convicted on all 18 counts.

The only reason for Sweden to detain Assange is to compete with the US, he said, arguing that he can be questioned in prison via a video link.

The ruling means the Swedish prosecutor can not at this stage request WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition from Britain.

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Nils Melzer, on Friday said the various drawn-out legal procedures against Assange amounted to "psychological torture".

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