Sweden has rejected the detention request for Julian Assange and will not be petitioning the United Kingdom for his extradition.
The Uppsala district court in Sweden rejected the request of prosecutors to detain Assange in absentia after the now historic rape allegation from 2010 was reopened in May. A decision in favour of detaining the Wikileaks founder would have seen the issuing of a European arrest warrant with an extradition request from the United Kingdom.
The judge in the case stated that detention would be “a disproportionate measure” at this time. The ruling does not indicate an end to the investigation and Assange could be questioned in Britain.
The news that Sweden will not be seeking extradition comes as Assange and his reporters received another encouraging sign, Assange said to be not facing charges in connection the 2017 publication of information that relates to the hacking capability of the CIA.
Despite the positive outcome in Sweden, there is still great worry amongst supporters and human rights activists as to the condition of Assange, with reports indicating he is “gravely ill” in the hospital wing of Belmarsh hospital.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelson stated that “Assange is in such a bad shape that it is not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him”.
Samuelson met with Assange for just under two hours this past Friday at Belmarsh ahead of today’s hearing in Sweden, Assange being unable to engage in effective communication. Due to the condition of his client, Samuelson had requested a postponement to the extradition hearing which was denied.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has already declared that Assange’s sentence for breaching his bail conditions in the United Kingdom is “disproportionate” and stated that they are “concerned” over the situation, stating that they are concerned that his “treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by human rights standards.”
Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has also said that the treatment that the Wikileaks founder is suffering amounts to “the effects of psychological torture” and that Assange has “no chance to get a fair trial” in the United States, adding that the U.S. regime wants “to get their hands” on him “to conduct a show trial” as a warning to all others who challenge the U.S.
Julian Assange must now prepare his defence against extradition to the United States despite being confined to a hospital bed. He is currently facing a whole life sentence should he be extradited to U.S. soil, having been accused of breaching the Espionage Act with each of the new 17 listed charges carrying a potential ten-year jail term.