In 2010, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London on rape charges. The Swedish government requested his extradition so he could be questioned by prosecutors about the allegations. Unwilling to face the charges, Assange skipped bail and hid in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for almost seven years. He was finally kicked out by Ecuador in April 2019, with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno calling him a “spoiled brat” and admitting he shouldn’t have been given asylum.
What next for Assange? He could face prison in the UK; the charge of failing to surrender to the British authorities carries a possible jail term of up to 12 months. The United States has also put in a request to have Assange extradited on charges of trying to crack a US government password (though Assange argues, perhaps with good reason, that this is just a pretence to bring him to the US to face espionage charges – despite the US-UK extradition treaty explicitly excluding extradition for “political offences” such as espionage).
Sweden might also put in another request to have Assange extradited. The Swedish rape investigation against him was officially dropped in 2017 but the case can still be reopened until 2020 when the statute of limitations expires. On the other hand, Julian Assange’s father has suggested the Australian government should ask for him to be returned to his native country.
Should Julian Assange be extradited? Should he face rape charges in Sweden? Should he be extradited to United States? To Australia? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!