US Pushing to Grab Assange From Whoever's Got HIm

Analysts: Fight for WikiLeaks boss likely to get messy

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 8, 2010 3:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Julian Assange hasn't been charged with any crime in the US, but the international tug-of-war for the WikiLeaks founder appears to have already begun. Assange is in British custody awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden, and US officials have held informal talks with their Swedish counterparts over the possibility of having him delivered into American custody, diplomatic sources tell the Independent.

The Justice Department is looking to charging Assange under the Espionage Act or, if necessary, other statutes, but any attempt to extradite him is likely to be messy, the Washington Post notes. Sweden's extradition treaty with the US doesn't cover crimes that are political or military in nature, and experts say Washington's best chance of getting its hands on Assange will be to go after him while he is still in British custody.

Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gather outside the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London yesterday.
Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gather outside the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London yesterday.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the media gather around a demonstrator near Westminster Magistrates Court in London yesterday.
Members of the media gather around a demonstrator near Westminster Magistrates Court in London yesterday.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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If and when a US request comes, it must be built with some sort of evidence and would be complicated if the same act is not punishable under Swedish law. - Nils Rekke, head of the legal department
at the Swedish prosecutor's office

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