Assange extradition 'courts matter'


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has insisted his government will play no role in deciding whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the US.

Mr Assange is currently in London, fighting extradition to Sweden over sex attack allegations.

His supporters and lawyers have argued that if he is sent there, he may face extradition to the US, where he could be prosecuted and ultimately face the death penalty. It is not clear what charges US authorities could bring against Mr Assange.

Mr Reinfeldt said Sweden’s policy was not to extradite people to countries with the death penalty. But he said Sweden’s courts, not its government, would decide that.

“We should stay away from this,” he told reporters in London, where he was attending a summit of Nordic and Baltic nations.

“We should remember when we ask questions about this that these are legal systems talking to each other, not politicians.”

Mr Assange, 39, is wanted in Sweden to answer rape and assault accusations stemming from encounters with two women during a trip to Sweden last summer.

American officials are also trying to build a criminal case against his organisation, WikiLeaks, which has published a catalogue of leaked diplomatic cables and secret US military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Assange is on bail and living under curfew at a supporter’s mansion in eastern England.

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