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Sunday, December 19, 2010

20. At a Glance: Wikileaks Cables

Timeline

28 Nov: First cables released

29 Nov: US brands cable leaks an "attack on the international community" and says criminal investigation ongoing

29 Nov: Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin calls for Mr Assange to be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders"

3 Dec: Wikileaks forced to change web address after coming under cyber attack

3 Dec: Sweden issues new European arrest warrant for Mr Assange over sex crime allegations but wording is wrong

6 Dec: Sweden issues new warrant and passes it to police in UK

7 Dec: Mr Assange is arrested in London after voluntarily walking into a police station

I really fear for the safety of Julian Assange if he is extradited to Sweden. Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said the Assange case highlighted the dangers of the European arrest warrant.

He said: "I don't know of the quality of the evidence in Mr Assange's case but it does seem that he is involved in political turmoil and intrigue and there are a lot of people keen to shut him up and there is nothing a court in the UK can do to look at the evidence before they extradite him."

Analysis by Clive Coleman
BBC News legal affairs analyst.

At a full hearing, which is not likely to take place for some weeks, Mr Assange will be able to raise his arguments against extradition.

The "fast-track" European arrest warrant system is based on the concept that all the participating countries have legal systems which meet similar standards, and fully respect human rights.

If Julian Assange is to avoid extradition he would need to show the warrant is politically motivated. This has been argued successfully in the past by Russian oligarchs, though Sweden has a better judicial record than Russia.

Or he would need to use technical arguments - arguing the warrant does not show specifically what law has been broken. But most technical mistakes could be resolved eventually and the warrant reissued.

Wikileaks Cables

Read KEY REVELATIONS AND QUOTES FROM WIKILEAKS' release of thousands of US embassy cables pertaining to Afghanistan, Australia, Baltic states, Burma, China, China - Africa, Cuba, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Koreas, Libya, Libya - UK, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia - Hezbollah, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, UK, UK - Royal Family, United Nations, United States.

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