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Assange attorneys raises risk of unfair rape trial in Sweden

Jeremy Kirk | Feb. 7, 2011
Embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a British court on Monday, where his attorney laid out a series of arguments why he should not be extradited to Sweden to face questions over sexual assault allegations.

One prong of Assange's legal strategy contends that if he is extradited to Sweden, he could be extradited to the U.S., where he could be held in Guantanamo Bay, the detention facility established for enemy combatants in 2002.

Montgomery dismissed the point, saying "So far as those complaints are concerned, firstly they depend on a factual hypothesis that is not yet been established as being a real risk, namely the risk of extradition from Sweden to the U.S."

Even if the U.S. filed an extradition request, the U.K. government would have to give its consent, Montgomery said.

During the hearing, the defense called two witnesses, with retired Swedish Judge Brita Sundberg-Weitman testifying that she felt the legal process taken by Swedish prosecutors was irregular.

The second witness, former Swedish prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem, testified that he followed the Assange allegations closely. He said he found that one of the alleged victims, referred to as "Miss A" used Twitter to remark positively about Assange after she had gone to police. The posted messages were deleted shortly thereafter, he said.

"It meant to me that the story told to the police was not consistent with the tweets," Alhem said.

The hearing is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

 

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