September 25, 2012

The Associated Press on September 25, 2012 released the following:

“UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ecuador says it has invited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to address a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly via a videolink from his refuge in the country’s London embassy.

Assange will speak Wednesday alongside Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino at a specially convened event to discuss his asylum case.

The Australian activist is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations and has been sheltered inside Ecuador’s embassy in London — beyond the reach of British police — since June 19.

Ecuador has granted Assange asylum, but he will be arrested if he steps foot outside its mission.

British Foreign Secretary Wiliam Hague said Tuesday that talks are continuing about Assange’s fate, but that there is “no sign of any breakthrough.””


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Is U.S. Extradition of Assange a Possibility?

December 8, 2010

Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian founder of WikiLeaks, surrendered on Monday to London police as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation.

According to authorities, Assange was arrested at about 9:30am local time after appearing at a London police station by appointment. In a statement, London police said that he is accused of one count of unlawful coercion, one count of rape and two counts of sexual molestation by Swedish authorities. All of the crimes are alleged to have been committed in August this year. Assange has denied the allegations.

When appearing before the court, Assange told them that he intends to fight the extradition to Sweden. He was denied bail, and the judge ordered him to stay in custody until the extradition hearing on December 14.

A few concerns may be of interest regarding the possible U.S. extradition of Assange. For instance, if the U.S. attempts to extradite Assange under the Espionage Act, it may be problematic given the First Amendment. However, WikiLeaks is not located in the U.S. and may not be covered by the First Amendment. On the other hand, a host of other U.S. federal criminal statutes could apply.

The question arises as to which country the U.S. would rather extradite Assange from, if they choose to do so. The United Kingdom passed an expedited extradition law a few years ago to render terrorists to the U.S. As it turned out, it’s been mostly alleged white collar defendants instead. This law has been very controversial in U.K., and the public has spoken out with “Blair was lapdog for the U.S.” kinds of statements.

The fact remains that although the U.S. may be considering extraditing Assange, Sweden moved first. However, Sweden could withdraw their request and allow the U.S. to have first “dubs” on Assange.

Going back to the issues with the First Amendment and freedom of speech, the First Amendment is problematic, but remember there may be a question as to whether the U.S. Constitution applies to a foreign (non-U.S.) news organization based outside the U.S.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC 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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WikiLeaks Founder Faces Possible Extradition

December 2, 2010

British police asked Swedish authorities Thursday for additional details not specified in an initial arrest warrant for Julian Assange, a possible indication that the location of the elusive founder of WikiLeaks is known.

The fact that British police are seeking more information probably means there is a procedural problem preventing them from arresting Assange. The additional details could provide them with a valid warrant.

It is likely that British police either know where he is or they have been watching him. However, there are definitely legal restraints holding them back from an arrest.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for sex-crime allegations that are not related to WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, the website continued publishing confidential diplomatic information that has been stirring up all corners of the world.

Assange, who has said he has long feared retribution for his website’s disclosures, has denied the sex-crime allegations, calling them a smear campaign.

Despite the warrant and an Interpol red notice, akin to an all-points bulletin, Assange has so far eluded arrest, making him one of the world’s most wanted fugitives.

Assange has not been seen in public since the Stockholm Criminal Court issued an international arrest warrant on November 18, 2010. Officials say Assange is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force.

There are conflicting reports on whether Assange is currently in Britain or elsewhere. Swedish authorities claim they are unaware of his whereabouts, which prompted the request to Interpol.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said it would send additional information to British police that would lay out the allegations of sexual molestation and illegal use of force — in addition to the accusation of rape that was already in the warrant — and the potential penalties attached to each alleged crime.

Assange, meanwhile lost a legal bid in the Swedish Supreme Court, which refused Thursday to hear an appeal of an arrest warrant for suspicion of rape and sexual molestation. Previously, the Swedish Court of Appeal had rejected Assange’s appeal.

At Sweden’s request, Interpol has issued an international wanted-persons alert for Assange to its 188 member countries. The red notice is not an arrest warrant, but an advisory and request for countries to locate a person with a view toward that person’s arrest and extradition. He would most certainly face extradition to Sweden if he is arrested, but he would have the right to appeal it.

A U.S. warrant for Assange over the WikiLeaks postings could further complicate this case. Specifically, the United States could pursue a case against Assange to silence the WikiLeaks site. Further, it is definitely possible for Assange to drag this out for years, and who’s to say that if Assange is arrested, publications on WikiLeaks will cease?

The most important question remains: Where is Assange?

For a complete reading of the CNN article, please click here.

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