Last week it was announced that the US judicial authorities would be bringing 17 more charges against Julian Assange. The 17 new counts on the indictment relate to endangering US national security by conspiring, with Chelsea Manning, to obtain and disclose classified government records under the US Espionage Act of 1917. Swedish judicial authorities have also confirmed that they will issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) if the court approves their request to detain Mr Assange in relation to an allegation of rape.
This means that it is now likely that Mr Assange will face competing extradition requests and it will be for a UK judge to decide which extradition request should be granted. In deciding where Mr Assange should be extradited to, Westminster Magistrates’ Court will consider the seriousness of the offences he is accused of in the US and Sweden. Therefore, the 17 extra charges from the US will increase the likelihood that Mr Assange is extradited there. However, the seriousness of the US charges will also be weighted against the fact that the Swedish rape charge expires when its limitation period ends in August 2020.
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