Assange Extradition: Sweden or the US?

Assange grabed in London

writer icon Wilma Johansson     SVT video   |   Ethics     🕐 03. Jun. 2019

Today, a ruling will be made at Uppsala District Court on whether or not a new European arrest warrant will be issued for Assange, in his absence. At which point an extradition order coulld be handed over to authorities in Great Britain.

Still, it is by no means certain that Swedish authorities get extradition preference over the US according to international law expert Mark Klamberg, Swedish public service television SVT, reports.

"British authorities will ask themselves the question: which of the crimes takes precedence? The Swedish request [for extradition to stand trial in Sweden] may at that point appear more serious," professor in international law at Stockholm University, Mark Klamberg, told SVT.

Considerations to an extradition order
His argument is that, as per international law praxis, the severity of charges need to be compared and levelled against each other: weighing the hacking and espionage charges and arrest warrants issued by the US, to those of rape in Sweden.

In this instance it is very likely that the severity of rape outweighs that of hacking or espionage, Klamberg finds.

Nevertheless, he presents two aspects to SVT that ought to be taken into consideration when it comes to which country gets preference to an extradition order of Assange. In addition to considering the severity of the crime, attention is also placed on when the respective extradition orders were issued.

In this case, US could get preference as their extradition request was issued, and subsequently also received, by British authorities first.

An old warrant for Assange's arrest in Sweden, that was issued in 2010, was lifted in 2017 when the Swedish public prosecution authority dropped the charges due to his continued absence.

Charges in Sweden
As previously reported by ISB: Swedish Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, at the time held that "the surrender cannot be executed in the foreseeable future”. She however also added that if Assange is made available at a later date, the investigation is to be resumed.

It is uncertain how things will unfold if a new in absentia arrest warrant is indeed issued for Assange today.

British authorities may see the charges in Sweden as a continuation of those issued in 2010 and give Sweden preference for Assange to stand trial there, or they may hold that the US issued their extradition order first.

However, the latter scenario may still see Sweden get extradition preference, due to the severity of the rape charges raised against Assange in the Nordic country.

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