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13 Feb, 2018 22:09

Assange expert tells RT: Wikileaks founder’s extradition fears are ‘completely rational’

A journalist behind ongoing litigation to obtain documents relating to the case of Julian Assange believes that the Wikileaks founder’s fears of being extradited to the US are “completely rational.”

La Republica journalist Stefania Maurizi was speaking to RT after a British court refused to withdraw an arrest warrant for Assange. Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled to uphold the arrest warrant, stating that she didn’t think Assange’s fears of extradition from Sweden to the US were “reasonable.”

READ MORE: Assange doesn't rule out appeal after he loses bid to have his UK arrest warrant dropped

However, Maurizi, who has obtained emails between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA) under the Freedom of Information Act, said she was shocked that there was “not a single line addressing Assange’s legitimate concern of being extradited to the US” in any of the documents she reviewed.

“You have to realize that when Assange was arrested in 2010, Wikileaks had just started publishing some of the most devastating revelations and secret documents about the US military intelligence complex,” Maurizi said. “It is impossible that the UK and the Swedish prosecutors never have addressed that concern, even in a dismissive way.”

The journalist, who has been denied access to some files, believes an extradition request could be a factor in those decisions. “There must be documents where they discussed this case and probably there are documents addressing discussions, maybe an actual request for extradition, and this is why we were denied documents,” she said.

“The UK authorities refused to confirm or deny whether they had any contact with the US, if they didn’t have any contact why not say openly,” she added.

Emails made public by the journalist have shed light on the UK’s role in the case. Early on in the extradition process, the CPS advised Swedish prosecutors against interviewing Assange in London despite such a move potentially progressing matters.

READ MORE: UK prosecutors pressed Sweden not to drop Assange extradition in 2013 – report

The correspondence also shows that Sweden attempted to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013 but were dissuaded by the Crown prosecutors. Other documents obtained by the journalist led to the revelation that UK prosecutors destroyed potentially crucial emails relating to the Assange case.

At the end of last year a UK tribunal blocked Maurizi’s efforts to obtain access to the full correspondence between the UK’s CPS and the Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA). An application to appeal this has been made by her legal team.

Maurizi is seeking documents to reconstruct the events of the case through official means. “I’m not very interested in speculating,” she told RT. “No other media has tried to access the documents as journalists are supposed to do.”

Before the hearing Assange noted that if he were to win the case it would be largely down to the work of Maurizi. Assange has not ruled out appealing Tuesday’s decision.

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