Debate Over the Reality of Assange’s Extradition to U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can’t be turned over to U.S. authorities if he is extradited to Sweden to face questioning over sexual-assault allegations, a former Swedish prosecutor told a U.K. judge.

Sven-Erik Alhem, a former prosecutor who now teaches law, testified it was “quite right” that, once in Swedish custody, the 39-year-old Australian couldn’t then be sent to the U.S., Alhem testified on the second day of Assange’s extradition hearing in London.

It is “my understanding” that Swedish law prevents people brought into the country on such warrants from being sent to another country, he said today when cross-examined by the U.K. prosecutor arguing on behalf of Sweden, Clare Montgomery.

However, according to Article VI of the Supplemental Treaty between the U.S. and Sweden, Swedish authorities have the power to defer extradition to the U.S. until proceedings against Assange in Sweden conclude, or they may temporarily surrender Assange to the U.S. for the purpose of prosecution.

The original treaty between the U.S. and Sweden can be found here.

The key language regarding temporary extradition to the U.S. can be found in Article VI of the Supplemental Treaty between the U.S. and Sweden, found here.

It seems Alhem may have been relying on the language of the original treaty, effectuated in 1963. Yet the Supplemental Treaty, effectuated in 1984, is controlling in this case.

The extradition of Assange to the U.S. is a reality. If the U.S. government formally charges Assange with a federal crime, extradition proceedings would begin between U.S. and Swedish authorities.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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