Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said they would oppose his extradition to Sweden over concerns that he may later face “illegal rendition” to the United States, placing Assange at risk for imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or possibly even the death penalty.
Assange’s lawyers cited statements calling for the execution of those who leaked the State Department documents in support of their opposition to extradition. They also plan to argue that Swedish law did not permit their client to be extradited on “the mere suspicion” that he had committed a crime. According to Assange’s lawyers, Swedish prosecutors seek extradition solely to question Assange about the sexual assault allegations.
His attorneys insist that Assange is a victim of illegal and corrupt behavior by Swedish prosecutors.
Assange remains defiant, both of the sexual assault allegations and the continued release of State Department documents. Assange has said his work will continue unabated and that the group plans to increase disclosures, targeting financial institutions and at least one media outlet.
But prosecutors are not backing down either and have gone to court to demand Twitter account records of several people associated with WikiLeaks. The demand is the first public evidence of the ongoing U.S. criminal investigation.
Assange’s extradition hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7-8.
photo courtesy of espenmoe via Flickr