Julian Assange: between a rock and a hard place

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After his expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange is in the international focus with the reactivation of legal processes that may mean extradition

Julian Assange: between a rock and a hard place

On April 11, Julian Assange was captured by the British authorities after the Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, made it official that the Ecuadorian government took away his political asylum. In an interview with The Guardian, Moreno affirms that the above was motivated by the constant insults he made to Ecuador, calling it an insignificant country, and by offenses with embassy personnel like throwing stools on the wall.

Leer en español: Julian Assange: entre la espada y la pared

As Le Monde explains, translating the above into legal terms, the reasons for his expulsion are two: first, ignorance of international conventions, which may mean intervention in international affairs without authorization; second, the disrespect of the cohabitation protocol, as can be deduced from Moreno's comments.

After his expulsion, Assange was sentenced by the British authorities to 50 weeks in prison for violating the conditional release granted in 2012 when the Swedish government requested his extradition. The reactivation of the processes, both with the Swedish government and with the American government, is what awaits him in the coming years. Will he be extradited to the US or Sweden?

Assange before the asylum

The 47-year-old Australian is recognized for having been the founder of Wikileaks, a platform dedicated to the publication of leaked documents from organizations and governments that keep them confidential.

In 2010, the Australian website leaked to the media 450,000 secret documents from thousands of internal US communications about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; those known as Warlogs and Cablegate of the militia and American diplomacy. The consequence of this was that Assange was accused of having helped Chelsea Manning, an ex-military accused of filtering the documents, to hack computers from the American defense ministry, according to Le Monde.

However, at the time a trial was not started because of this, but because of accusations of rape of two women in Sweden. After being in process and having paid bail, says the BBC, he went through a long legal process that ended in a political asylum at the embassy in London, which was given by the then president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Because of this, all the legal processes that Assange faced were frozen while he maintained his asylum status.

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Between extradition to Sweden or the United States

After his expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy, the governments that had proceedings against him did not delay in demonstrating. On the one hand, the United States again demanded the extradition of Assange. On the other hand, the Swedish government reactivated the rape case.

As El País recalls, the American government accuses the founder of Wikileaks "of a crime of computer intrusion punishable by up to five years in prison." In the first trial in relation to this case, which took place on May 2 before a London court that communicated with him in jail, Assange formally denied his consent to the extradition of the American government. According to The Guardian, he said that "I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many, many people".

However, the government of the United States has not remained with its arms crossed, since it has moved its chips elsewhere. For example, according to information from El País, next May 20 at 9am "the Attorney General of the State of Ecuador has agreed to register one of the stays of the embassy of that country in London, in which the cyber-activist has resided during the last seven years, and deliver to the US all your documents, mobile phones, computer files, computers, memory drives, CDs and any other device. " The information that the US government can obtain from these documents can serve to reinforce the accusations and to know how Assange has handled the case with his lawyers.

On the Swedish side, matters have also been reactivated in recent days. As the Deputy Prosecutor General of Sweden stated last Monday, according to El País, "after reviewing the preliminary investigations in their current state, my conclusion is that there is still sufficient evidence to suspect that Mr. Assange committed a violation or a crime of lesser degree. "This means that the extradition request of the Swedish government can be reactivated, which would put Assange between a rock and a hard place, between two countries that seek to prosecute him under its rules.

Now it is up to the British government to decide which extradition will give preference as established in the Extradition Act, according to The Guardian. The person in charge of the decision, Sajid Javid, must "take into account the relative seriousness of the allegations, the place where each alleged offense was committed, the date when each request was issued or received and whether the person is accused or convicted of each alleged offense".


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra

Translated from "Julian Assange: entre la espada y la pared"

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