Whilst Ecuador deliberates whether or not to grant WikiLeaks' Julian Assange political asylum, the debate on whether Assange is really at any risk in going to Sweden continues. Informed punditry suggests that Assange would almost certainly whisked to the US - and we know what is likely to happen there should that eventuate. MediaLens has looked at the issue of Assange being where he is now and quotes one eminent lawyer's opinion.
Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, explained the risks associated with extradition to Sweden:
‘Sweden does not have bail. Now, these are on allegations of sex charges — allegations, no charges — and they’re to interrogate Julian Assange. But despite that, he would have been in prison in Sweden. At that point, our view is that there was a substantial chance that the U.S. would ask for his extradition to the United States.
‘So here you have him walking the streets in London - sure, under bail conditions - going to a jail in Sweden, where he’s in prison, almost an incommunicado prison; U.S. files extradition; he remains in prison; and the next thing that happens is whatever time it takes him to fight the extradition in Sweden, he’s taken to the United States. There’s no chance then to make political asylum application any longer. In addition, once he comes to the United States—we just hold up Bradley Manning as example one of what will happen to Julian Assange: a underground cell, essentially abuse, torture, no ability to communicate with anybody, facing certainly good chance of a life sentence, with a possibility, of course, of one of these charges being a death penalty charge…
‘So, he was in an impossible situation… This is what Julian Assange was facing: never to see the light of day again, in my view, had he gone to Sweden.’