Added by Annika L. Krugel on January 13, 2011
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, could be heading to Guantanamo Bay, or even face execution by U.S. authorities, should he be extradited to Sweden, his lawyers said on Tuesday.
Assange, who is fighting a Swedish warrant for extradition for charges of sex-crime allegations, made a brief court appearance in London on Tuesday, in which he vowed to continue his work “unabated”.
His whistle-blowing website has made public thousands of secret U.S. government cable, and his attorneys claim that if he extradited to Sweden he could end up facing a term at U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, or execution by U.S. authorities.
The full extradition hearing is scheduled for 7 and 8 February, and Assange’s law firm, Finers Stephens Innocent, have posted a “provisional skeleton argument” for his defense online.
The document is said to claim that the extradition warrant is politically motivated and that it risks violating the European Convention on Human Rights, that prohibits torture as well as the extradition of suspects to places where they could face the death penalty.
The basis for the claim comes from statements by various U.S. figures, including Alaska governor Sarah Palin who reportedly said: “Why was he [Assange] not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”
Assange has since being released on bail in December been living under curfew at the estate of Vaughan Smit, one of the Frontline Club’s founders.