“There is the sense that the United States are pursuing Julian Assange. Julian Assange was in London living freely for two years. If the United States had wanted to extradite him they could have done so,” said Ambassador Bleich.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has also dismissed the risk that Assange will be further extradited to the US if extradited to Sweden as “sheer fantasy”.
“The Sweds have won in the UK courts. It’s nothing to do with WikiLeaks. It’s about a criminal allegation made in Sweden and that’s why he’s in the Ecuadorian Embassy.”
During the ABC program Q&A, Senator Carr repeatedly insisted that Assange being in the Ecuadorian Embassy was a matter between the Swedish Courts and Assange, not the USA.
Assange was granted asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London on the grounds he was at risk of extradition to the US to face conspiracy charges if removed to Sweden. Sweden is seeking his extradition for questioning regarding sexual assault allegations.
Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo PatiÃ±o endorsed Assange’s fears of extradition to the US when it was announced in June 2012 that Ecuador had decided to grant Assange diplomatic asylum.
PatiÃ±o cited “strong evidence” that Assange faced possible “retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information,” noting that such retaliation “may endanger [his] safety, integrity, and even his life.”
According to Carr, the “conspiracy” that if extradited to Stockholm, Assange will be then be extradited to USA is unfounded. In fact, Carr says that Assange will be safer in Sweden than in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Based on recent efforts made by the Australian government to ensure Assange is treated with due process by the Swedish courts, Senator Carr stated that Sweden had replied by saying that it is their policy that they “never extradite someone on a matter related to military or intelligence.”
“If the Swed’s had him in Stockholm he’d been even more…harder for the US to extradite, if that’s what they wanted to do than he’s been for the last two years in the United Kingdom,” says Senator Carr.
Senator Carr also said that despite Australia having no legal standing on the issue he has offered to help the British and Swedish governments find a diplomatic solution to this ongoing problem.