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AP Explains: WikiLeaks founder has multinational legal woes

SeattlePI.com Monday, 13 May 2019
LONDON (AP) — The founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is wanted by prosecutors in two countries - the United States and Sweden - and he is currently imprisoned in a third - Britain. The tug-of-war stems from different alleged criminal acts. This is how Assange ended up with legal woes on multiple fronts:

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WHAT IS ASSANGE'S LEGAL STATUS?

The 47-year-old Assange is locked up at Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in Britain. But his legal problems do not stop there. U.S. prosecutors want him brought to the United States to face charges of allegedly conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer system. Swedish prosecutors said Monday they are reviving a rape investigation of Assange and will also seek his extradition.

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WHY IS SWEDEN'S RAPE INQUIRY ACTIVE AGAIN?

Swedish officials started investigating in 2010 and dropped the case in 2017 because Assange had avoided extradition by obtaining political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, making it difficult for prosecutors to move the case forward. Ecuador's government withdrew his political protection in April and British police arrested Assange at the embassy hours later. Swedish officials now believe they can extradite Assange to Sweden for questioning and a possible trial.

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WHICH COUNTRY WILL GET ASSANGE FIRST?

That's not clear yet. Sweden hasn't yet made a formal extradition request. It will be up to a British court — and ultimately, Britain's home secretary, a senior Cabinet official who has the government's final say on extradition matters — to determine which claim takes priority. British officials will consider several factors, including the seriousness of the...
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