Claim: WikiLeaks founder could face death penalty

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange entered the embassy 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 and detention in the United States.

Indeed, Assange’s US lawyer, Michael Ratner, said he was certain 
the WikiLeaks founder had already either been secretly indicted by a grand jury in Washington or would face extradition with a view to prosecution – with the death penalty remaining a distinct possibility.

Fears over possible extradition to the US recently prompted Assange’s mother to meet with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, in an effort to accelerate the process of clinching political asylum for Julian. 

“As a mother I’m terrified for what would happen to my son if he’s extradited to the United States where he’ll be possibly executed or perhaps tortured in a prison and will not face a hearing as we’ve seen with Bradley Manning,” Christine Assange told reporters.

“[Julian] is freedom-loving, he cannot run, he cannot go outside [the embassy] to see the sky. Outside, the UK police wait like dogs to take him… He cannot exercise the way he normally could and he’s under extreme psychological stress.”

Meanwhile, Patino confirmed that Ecuador was continuing its “thorough analysis” of Assange’s asylum request, with a final decision expected relatively soon.

“Our decision will seek not to endanger the life of a human being,” he added.