Assange case: US unlikely to prosecute, sources say


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, centre, arrives at the High Court in central London, on July 12, 2011.



Citing unnamed US and European government sources, Reuters reports that the United States has not issued criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, nor is it currently seeking to have Assange extradited to the US.

Reuters wrote:

"Obama administration officials remain divided over the wisdom of prosecuting Assange, the sources said, and the likelihood of US criminal charges against him is probably receding rather than growing."

The US has said publically what happens to Assange next depends on decisions made by Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador.

Assange and his supporters have voiced fears that Sweden — which has sought Assange for questioning over sex crime allegations — plans to hand him over to the US, where he could potentially face prosecution over WikiLeaks's release of confidential US government memos.

However, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday that Assange was making "wild assertions about us, when, in fact, his issue with the government of the United Kingdom has to do with whether he's going to go ... face justice in Sweden for something that has nothing to do with WikiLeaks."

The State Department has a point. Cecilia Riddseleus, a senior official of Sweden's Justice Ministry, told Reuters that her country "had received no extradition request from the US." And those who fear that Assange's extradition from Sweden may come suddenly should consider the following: Sweden would not be able to extradite Assange to the US without first obtaining approval from the UK, Reuters reported, citing Riddseleus.

Assange is currently sitting firmly out of the grasp of British police at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 

Meanwhile, "Australian authorities have appeared to have ignored requests by Julian Assange for diplomatic assistance," the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing Assange's lawyer, the well-known Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon. According to the Herald, Garzon suggested that the public would be surprised by full details of the case against Assange in Sweden. ".... Key information relating to the rape allegations facing Mr Assange had been kept secret and would be a 'big surprise' when the defence team was able to reveal them," the Herald said, citing Garzon.

More from GlobalPost: Wikilocked — Can Assange get out? And what happens next?

Editor's note: this story has been revised.