Assange a hot potato for Swedish government - journalist
3 Feb, 2011 10:07
Sweden-based journalist Al Burke says that if WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden from the UK, “whatever happens as a result of the trial, the US will probably request that he be extradited for the crimes they are trying to invent now.”
Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, is still wanted in Sweden on sex assault accusations and could be extradited there from Britain. But there have been reports that the US also wants him on alleged espionage. Al Burke believes there is a strong political agenda behind Assange's case.“As soon as the Social Democrats announced that they are going to lead the country to the EU, you started to see very clear signs that Sweden was adapting its foreign policy to the needs of NATO, the interests of the EU and the US,” Burke says, explaining why Swedish authorities are likely to cooperate with America on Assange’s extradition case.“An extradition process is usually done by the Immigration Department, it could be appealed by a court and the government could get involved,” the journalist believes. “There is room for political decision-making in this matter. And of course there are also many informal ways for the government to let its interests be known to the people underneath.”Al Burke says that while British lawyers think the chances of Assange’s extradition to Sweden is 50-50, due to the political element of the puzzle, the Swedish lawyers see the case against Assange as absurd. Burke thinks Assange will be released from jail only to face extradition to the US.“When Sweden joined the EU it ceased to be an independent nation,” Burke added.