Julian Assange may be holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he is seeking political asylum, but that hasn’t stopped British law enforcement officials from serving him a letter of extradition.
According to reports, the letter, penned by none other than Scotland Yard, demanded the 40-year-old Assange visit a police station “at a time of our choosing.”
“This is standard procedure in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson told the BBC.
“He remains in breach of his bail conditions and failure to surrender would be a further breach of those conditions and he is liable to arrest.”
Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 after all attempts to fight extradition to Sweden – where the WikiLeaks founder faces charges of sexual assault – failed. Assange, who denies the accusations, is concerned that extradition to Sweden could ultimately lead to his eventual transfer to the United States.
Indeed, author-activist David Swanson recently told Russia Today that Assange will ultimately be handed over to the United States – where he is likely to be tried for espionage. According to Swanson, the American government “has issued a secret closed indictment and pressured other governments in Britain and Sweden to ship Julian Assange to the US.”
Swanson also claimed the WikiLeaks founder could face conditions amounting to torture or even murder, as the the US has “very much blurred the line between law enforcement and war.”
Swanson’s concerns were echoed last week by a US lobbying group known as “Just Foreign Policy,” which sent a formal letter to Ecuador asking the country’s prime minister to grant Assange asylum. Its signatories included a number of prominent filmmakers, writers, lawyers and civil rights campaigners – such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky.
“There is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned and likely extradited to the United States,” they wrote. “Were he charged and found guilty under the Espionage Act, Assange could face the death penalty.”