US has two months to finalize extradition case against WikiLeaks' Assange

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Assange sought asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London's chic Knightsbridge district after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

He was arrested Thursday after Ecuador withdrew his asylum.

The separate extradition case on USA charges of computer hacking is set for May 2, although the United States has until June 12 to submit full extradition papers.

But Assange's legal adviser Greg Burns, says it is by no means certain that the United Kingdom will comply with the request. Considerations usually include which request came first and which alleged crime is more serious. "I'll wait and see what happens with the charges and how it proceeds, but he skipped bail in the U.K. Sweden had those charges, which have been dropped in the last several years".

Former Conservative Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt told the BBC that the way the sexual assault allegations have been minimized is "quite disturbing".

The letter, from mainly Labour MPS and Peers, appears to mark a growing division within the party over its attitude to Assange, coming after Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott criticised any moves to extradite him to the US.

"The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed", he said on Twitter.

"My objection was to his extradition to the United States because I do believe that WikiLeaks told us the truth about what was actually happening in Afghanistan and in Iraq".

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WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson warned he fears the USA will add more charges, meaning he could face decades in an American prison.

Previous comparable cases, involving accused hackers Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, took between five and 10 years but eventually resulted in their extraditions to the U.S. being blocked.

"I think the top priority, as we say in our letter, is to ensure that if the Swedish authorities wish to have him extradited there to face those charges, they must take priority above all else".

Some of the sexual misconduct accusations are no longer viable because their time ran out.

Assange denies the Swedish allegations, which have a limitation period that expires in August 2020.

Prosecutors in Sweden have since confirmed that, while the investigation has not been resumed, they are looking into the case.

After news broke that Assange had been arrested, the lawyer for the woman who accused him of rape tweeted that she and her client were shocked, but said they'd been hoping for it since 2012.

Legal experts said the case could be stuck in British courts for up to two years and, if appealed, potentially go all the way to the European Court of Justice.

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