Two months for US to finalise case
Ecuador suspends Julian Assange’s citizenship; More than 70 MPs urge UK to assist Sweden in Assange case
WASHINGTON, Apr 13: US prosecutors have just under two months to present British authorities with a final and detailed criminal case to justify the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a US government official said on Friday.
The official, who asked for anonymity when discussing the case, said US authorities had already sent Britain a provisional arrest warrant regarding Assange's extradition to the United States.
But within 60 days from Thursday, when British police bundled Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he had taken refuge seven years ago, US authorities must submit a formal request outlining all the legal charges Assange would face if he is transferred into US custody.
The US indictment filed in March 2018 said Assange, in March 2010, engaged in a conspiracy to help Manning crack a password stored on Defense Department computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.
Ecuador has suspended Assange's citizenship and accused him and people connected to his WikiLeaks group of collaborating in attempts to destabilise the Andean nation's government, after years of offering him shelter.
Meanwhile, more than 70 British lawmakers have urged their government to prioritise any extradition bid Sweden might make for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is also wanted in the United States.
In the letter, the MPs and peers urge British Home Secretary Sajid Javid to "give every assistance to Sweden should they want to revive and pursue the investigation".
British law states that if Sweden does make an extradition request, it would be up to Javid to decide which should take precedence.
"We must send a strong message of the priority the UK has in tackling sexual violence and the seriousness with which such allegations are viewed," the letter says. -AFP