Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 202-675-8579
(Washington, D.C.) -- Amnesty International calls on the Swedish authorities to issue assurances to the United Kingdom and to Julian Assange that if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy and agrees to go to Sweden to face sexual assault claims, he will not be extradited to the United States in connection with Wikileaks.
In the wake of the Wikileaks co-founder addressing the United Nations and with talks due between British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ecuadorian officials, the human rights organization said that it was time to break the impasse.
"If the Swedish authorities are able to confirm publicly that Assange will not eventually find himself on a plane to the United States if he submits himself to the authority of the Swedish courts, then this will hopefully achieve two things," said Nicola Duckworth, a researcher at Amnesty International. "First, it will break the current impasse, and second, it will mean the women who have leveled accusations of sexual assault are not denied justice."
"It is vital that states show they are serious about dealing with allegations of sexual violence and that they respect both the rights of the women who made the complaints and the person accused," Duckworth added.
While Amnesty International has no evidence that Sweden plans to extradite Assange to the United States, it is evident that fears about such an outcome have played no small part in the current stand-off.
Amnesty International believes that the forced transfer of Julian Assange to the United States in the present circumstances would expose him to a real risk of serious human rights violations, possibly including violation of his right to freedom of expression and the risk that he may be held in detention in conditions which violate the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.