Saturday 13 April 2019 9:06 am

MPs urge government to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden

More than 70 MPs have written to the government asking that Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden should the country request it.

Assange was arrested by British authorities on Thursday after leaving the Ecuadorian embassy that he had resided in under diplomatic protection since 2012. 

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The WikiLeak's founder faces allegation of rape in Sweden, but the UK has also received an extradition request from the US on charges pertaining to a hack into a government computer with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Labour MP Stella Creasy shared the letter that she and multiple other MPs had signed and sent to home secretary Sajid Javid on Twitter. 

"We are writing to request that you do everything you can to champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event Sweden make an extradition request," it says.

"This would be so the formal investigation into an allegation of rape can be concluded and, if appropriate, a charge can be made and any trial can take place.

"We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done.

"We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated."

Sweden has until next August to reopen its investigation into Assange before the allegations expire.

Meanwhile, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have both spoken out against Assange's potential expedition to the US on human rights grounds.

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"The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government," Corbyn said. 

Abbott told the BBC the case against him was about the "embarrassment of the things he's revealed about the American military and security services" and that he was a "whistleblower, and much of the information that he brought into the public domain, it could be argued, was very much in the public interest".