WikiLeaks chief Assange unlikely to surrender to police

Julian Assange has been staying at Ecuador's embassy in London pending a request for asylum

WikiLeaks Julian Assange said Thursday night it is very unlikely he will obey a summons from British police to leave Ecuador's embassy on Friday and surrender for breaching bail conditions.

Assange, who lost a fight in the U.K.'s Supreme Court on May 30 to block his extradition to Sweden, told the BBC's Newsnight program by telephone that he fears he could eventually be extradited to the U.S. for his WikiLeaks work.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said early Friday morning that the surrender notice is a standard first step in the extradition process.

Swedish prosecutors have sought to question Assange over sexual assault allegations from two women stemming from incidents in August 2010. He has not been charged and maintained the encounters were consensual.

Last week, the 40-year-old Australian sought refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London while the country evaluates his request for political asylum. He had been free on bail but subject to electronic monitoring and regular check-ins with the police as he challenged extradition.

Assange and his legal team have contended that his extradition to Sweden could lead to eventual extradition to the U.S., which has been investigating WikiLeaks' release in November 2010 of 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.

The secret documents are alleged to have been provided to WikiLeaks by U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley E. Manning. Court hearings have started for an eventual trial on charges that Manning allegedly mishandled and transferred classified information.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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