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Wanted: Julian Assange

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Posted on Jun 20, 2012
"Democracy Now!"

London police announced Wednesday that Julian Assange violated terms of his house arrest by staying overnight in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he is seeking asylum. Assange is now a wanted man in Britain, Sweden and the United States, the latter of which appears to want to prosecute the Australian hacker for his WikiLeaks work.

Assange is right to fear extradition from Sweden to the U.S. As constitutional lawyer and Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald writes:

... That country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden’s “restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody”, including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world.

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney for Assange and WikiLeaks, warns that his client could be imprisoned in the same manner as alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning if he is extradited to the United States.

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