Assange resumes extradition fight – AlJazeera

Assange resumes extradition fight
WikiLeaks founder back in London court as his Swedish lawyer says case against him has a “hidden agenda”.

Julian Assange, founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, is back in a London court for the second and final day of a hearing that will decide whether he is extradited to Sweden. The 39-year-old Australian is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct against two women. But a Swedish lawyer representing Assange has said the two alleged victims may have a “hidden agenda”. “I can see from the text messages, in which the complainants speak of ‘revenge’, obtaining money and speaking about Assange in the press, that they may have a hidden agenda, which casts serious doubt on their accusations,” Bjorn Hurtig said in a statement before Tuesday’s hearing. Hurtig, who is due to give evidence at the high security Belmarsh Magistrate’s court , added that the case against Assange was one of the “weakest” he had ever seen. Concerns over US extradition On Monday, Geoffrey Roberston, Assange’s defence lawyer, told the court that his client would not get a fair trial in Sweden because of his notoriety and because Swedish rape cases are often held in secret. But Clare Montgomery, the lawyer representing Sweden, said Swedish trials are based on the principle that everyone deserves a fair and public hearing. Three of his most high-profile supporters also said they feared Assange would be extradited to the United States once in Sweden, and said he could face incarceration “or worse”. “If he goes back to Sweden then of course the American will get him to the USA and like Bradley Manning, who began this work, he could easily be put in solitary confinement and receive an unfair trial,” Tony Benn, a former Labour minister, told a rally in the British capital on Monday. The prosecution sought to allay fears about a possible extradition to the US, saying that would not happen. Supporters for the WikiLeaks founder have said the allegations against him in Sweden are politically motivated, a charge Stockholm has denied. Assange infuriated the US government last year when his website began to release thousands of secret US diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks had already sparked controversy by releasing thousands of “war logs” on Afghanistan and a video showing US military firing on civilians and journalists in Iraq. Although proceedings at the Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London will wrap up on Tuesday, the judge is expected to defer a ruling until later this month, under a term known as “reserving judgement”.

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