WikiLeaks boss labels UK extradition order a 'rubber stamping process'
Can't be sent to US without UK approval though
Julian Assange was awarded bail this afternoon, after his lawyers secured funds understood to total £200,000.
The WikiLeaks founder learned earlier today that he would be extradited to Sweden to face questions regarding two alleged sexual assaults in the country, following a ruling by Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh magistrates court in South East London.
After making bail, he told reporters outside the court this afternoon that the order was a "rubber stamping process". Here's his statement, courtesy of the BBC:
Belmarsh was a rubber stamping process. It comes as no surprise but is nevertheless wrong. It comes as the result of a European arrest warrant system run amok.
There was no consideration of the allegations made against me. No consideration of the complaints against me in Sweden.
We have always known we would appeal. We have always known in all likelihood we would have to appeal. Ninety five percent of all European arrest warrants are successful.
What does the United States have to do with a Swedish Extradition process?
It has been falsely stated that I said the CIA or Pentagon was involved in the initial allegation. I have never said that. I have never said who was behind those allegations, simply that they were untrue.
Why is it that I am subject – a non-profit free speech activist – that I am subject to a $300,000 bail, that I am subject to house arrest when I have never been charged in any country?
The scrutiny of the European arrest warrant system needs to begin now, it cannot be the case that filling two pages with someone's name and a suspicion – not a charge – can lead to their extradition to one of 26 European nations.
Three people a day are being extradited from the UK under a rubber stamp process.
Assange reportedly had supporters and suretors including Jemima Khan, Patricia David and Lady Caroline Evans present at the ruling.
Outside the court at lunchtime, Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, made a statement in which he confirmed that the former computer hacker would appeal against the extradition order. Assange has seven days to respond.
Meanwhile, Assange's mother reacted with a peculiar outburst to the ruling.
"I would say that what we're looking at here is political and legal gang rape of my son," Christine Assange told the Australian Associated Press about the court's extradition order.
"It's a real David and Goliath situation," she said. "You've got misuse of the European arrest warrant, first time ever that it's been used this way."
Arguably, however, Assange's extradition to Sweden could make it harder for US officials to have him forcibly transferred to the US, detained at Guantanamo Bay, and eventually executed, as was claimed by the WikiLeaks' man's defence lawyers.
The reason for this was made clear by Judge Riddle, who also noted that accusations against Assange would amount to rape and sexual assault in the UK, in his ruling earlier today.
Any such extradition would require the consent not just from Swedish officials, but also from the UK government.
"If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies," noted the judge.
"In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State.
"The Secretary of State is required to give notice to Mr Assange unless it is impracticable to do so. Mr Assange would have the protection of the courts in Sweden and, as the Secretary of State’s decision can be reviewed, he would have the protection of the English courts also." ®
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