London cops order Julian Assange to turn himself in
Erratic leaker too busy boning up on Ecuadorian anthem
WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange was served with an extradition notice by the Metropolitan police this morning.
Scotland Yard said that the 40-year-old Australian, who holed himself up in the Ecuadorian Embassy's digs in London a week ago in an effort to seek political asylum, was required to "attend a police station at date and time of our choosing".
Before adding: "This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process."
As we reported last week, Assange's bizarre plea for shelter from being extradited to Sweden to face allegations of coercion, sexual molestation and rape meant that he had broken one of the conditions of his UK bail terms, which had been in force since his arrest in December 2010.
He had been cuffed, courtesy of a European Arrest Warrant, by the Met's extradition unit on behalf of Swedish authorities.
By taking up residence in the Ecuadorian Embassy's flat in Knightsbridge, London, the computer hacker broke a curfew set out by Scotland Yard, which demanded that Assange remain holed up at his bail address between the hours of 22.00 and 8.00.
The moment he steps outside the door, Assange will be re-arrested under the Bail Act by police officers currently camped outside the embassy.
Scotland Yard said today that Assange "remains in breach of his bail conditions, failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest".
Meanwhile, Ecuador has yet to respond to Assange's diplomatic plight. ®
He's not been charged with anything, even by the Swedes. They say they just want to question him. I believe he's offered to meet their investigating officers and talk for as long as they want - in the UK. On the basis of that the Swedish authorities could then decide whether to press charges. But rather than accept his offer and buy a couple of cheap air tickets to Heathrow, the Swedish authorities decide to go through the whole extradition process just so they can have a chat - with someone who is merely a suspect?
Something suspicious here - the Swedes really, really want him back in Sweden, even before he's been charged with anything. One has to wonder why? Are the Swedish cops so poorly funded they can't afford a couple of air fares and a few nights in a cheap London hotel?
"He's not been charged with anything, even by the Swedes. They say they just want to question him"
This was covered in the Guardians "live blog" on the stand-off at the Ecuadorian embassy. Legal system in Sweden is different to the UK and this question session is a required step before charging him ... and I think the language used in the request for the interview basically implies that he is expected to be charged after questioning.
"Why certainly officer, I'll be only too pleased this little diplomatic safe haven I have at the moment and put myself in British custody because your legal process has really been going in my favour lately."