UK MPs urge home secretary to extradite Assange to Sweden instead of US

# 10:25
13 April 2019

More than 70 UK lawmakers have signed a letter urging both Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott to prioritize Sweden's extradition request over that of the US appeal for Julian Assange should Sweden issue such a request, ONA reports citing Sputnik.

According to the lawmakers, such a gesture will send a "strong message of the priority the UK has in tackling sexual violence and the seriousness with which such allegations are viewed".

"We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the [Swedish] complainant should see justice be done,” the letter says. The lawmakers also point out that several rape charges against Assange were dropped because their statute of limitations have expired and the only remaining charge will expire in August 2020.

"Other allegations are already time bound because of the unavailability of Mr Assange. Justice has already been denied in respect of those allegations. There is a serious risk that if the UK does not give every cooperation to any renewed request from Sweden there could be a further injustice,” the letter says.

Sweden has shelved this investigation because of Assange's unavailability, who has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy for the last seven years. According to the MPs’ letter, the Swedish victim’s lawyer requested for the case to be reopened, but Stockholm authorities have yet to decide whether to satisfy the demand.

The lawmakers state they will "make no assessment" over which extradition request would win in case of a conflict. Under section 179 of the 2003 Extradition Act, it falls to the home secretary to decide which demand to satisfy, and the decision is made based on a number of criteria, including the relative severity of the offences, the date of the first warrant and the places where they were committed, a report from The Guardian says.