The U.K. police has issued an order for Julian Assange to appear at a police station on Friday, to begin the extradition process. Assange has rejected it. In an interview with the BBC, he explains why.
The WikiLeaks whistleblower, Assange, is currently liable for arrest by the U.K. police should he leave the Ecuadorian embassy, on the grounds that he has violated his bail conditions. He is wanted in Sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault, which Assange denies, and says that the charges are "depthless and politically-motivated."
He has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy since last Tuesday, appealing for political asylum from the Ecuadorian government.
Assange has voiced fears that if extradited to Sweden, Stockholm may then turn him over to U.S. jurisdiction, where he could be tried on espionage charges. WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder, has published thousands of diplomatic wires on their website, which prompted an aggressive response from U.S. politicians, who have branded him a terrorist.
Assange says he will remain in the Ecuadorean embassy while continuing his appeal for political asylum in that country.
A summons was issued by the police on Thursday, ordering Assange to appear at the Belgravia police station on Friday to start the process of extradition to Sweden.
The document from the Metropolitan Police states, "requires him to attend a police station at a date and time of our choosing. This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process."
When asked in an interview by the BBC if he will surrender himself, Assange said: "Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law, so the answer is almost certainly not."
"Almost certainly not", refers to the fact that Assange had recently said that he would submit to the extradition, if he received an absolute guarantee that he wouldn't be handed over to the U.S.
When asked what Assange was afraid of, in connection with the extradition process to Sweden, he said, "The concern is predominantly in relation to the United States. It is not a concern that affects me alone. It concerns a number of people that have worked for our organization or have been volunteers for us."
"In the United States, since at least the beginning of 2011, according to the Washington Post, a U.S. Grand Jury has been empaneled in Washington and it has been pulling in witnesses, forced testimony from those witnesses, subpoenaed records from Google and Twitter from our ISP, that has been working with the FBI. Now according to public record, the file for the prosecution has reached 42,135 pages, as a result of the Bradley Manning hearing."
"Bradley Manning, an alleged associate of mine, who is in prison, they say, for interacting with me, has been found, has been placed under torturous conditions by the UN rapporteur. His lawyer says that the reason he has been placed in those conditions, the reasons he has been subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, is so that they can force him to testify against me."
When asked what evidence Assange has for this, he said, "That is a matter of public record, it is public from the hearings that have occurred in the past few months in the United States, in Washington."
Assange apparently submitted recordings to the BBC of American politicians and talk show hosts calling for his death, as evidence of the prejudice against him.
Meanwhile the Ecuadorian government is considering carefully his appeal for political asylum. President Rafael Correa has stressed that his government is considering the legal and political consequences of granting this asylum and that it had not yet set a deadline for the decision.
Last week, Digital Journal reported that President Correa recalled the U.K. ambassador to Ecuador to discuss the situation.
President Correa said on Tuesday, "We will come to a decision as a sovereign nation which doesn't exclude the possibility of consulting with friendly nations."
Sibel Edmonds, the founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition told RT that the reason Ecuador is taking so long to decide is that, besides receiving letters and petitions from activists, the country is also receiving a list of ultimatums and threats from the U.S. She said, “The State Department is giving Ecuador plenty to think about by showing what kind of consequences they will be facing, whether it’s economical, whether it’s political.”
The full interview with Edmonds can be viewed in the video above.