‘I would not stand in the way of Assange's extradition’ – UK Foreign Secretary Hunt
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is also vying to become prime minister, said he would not hamper Julian Assange's extradition to the US. Charges against the WikiLeaks founder carry up to 175 years in prison.
Washington wants Assange prosecuted under the Espionage Act for his role in publishing the classified documents released by whistleblower Chelsea Manning and revealing the high civilian death toll from US airstrikes among other things.
“Well, we would have to follow our own legal processes, just as the US has to follow its own legal processes,” Hunt told Face the Nation on Sunday. “But would I want to stand in the way of Julian Assange facing justice? No, I would not.”
Since Assange is “someone who is alleged to have committed some very serious crimes,” Hunt added, “it is absolutely right that he faces justice.” The foreign secretary also said that the journalist's “crimes” are “alleged to have led to people's deaths,” yet it was unclear what he meant exactly. During the Manning process, the investigators did not establish if the leak actually resulted in any deaths or put lives at risk.
After seven years of living under asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange is now in a UK prison for skipping bail back in 2012. The journalist has been handed an unusually long sentence for such an offense and is now set to spend nearly a year behind bars – while the extradition hearings are looming.
Aside from the US, where Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on all charges, Sweden might seek his extradition as well. The country has reopened an investigation into allegations of rape by Assange, which he firmly denies. The probe into the claims was originally dropped back in 2017.Also on rt.com Assange as free to leave as someone ‘on a rubber boat in a sharkpool’ – UN's Melzer destroys Hunt
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