Legal options for Assange after British verdict

(AFP) – Britain’s Supreme Court will rule on Wednesday on an appeal by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sex crimes.

With the legal battle entering largely uncharted territory, here is an  outline of the possible scenarios, set out by Britain’s Crown Prosecution  Service; a leading extradition lawyer; and Swedish prosecutors.
If Assange loses his appeal in Britain’s top court:        
– Assange can apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the  French city of Strasbourg to lodge a final appeal against the European Arrest  Warrant issued by Sweden.   The ECHR has 14 days to decide whether it will hear the appeal.
– Assange would also have to apply to the ECHR to issue a separate interim  order that Britain cannot extradite him to Sweden during that 14-day period.
 “If what he wants to achieve is stop himself going to Sweden, then he needs  his interim relief. Because, without it, he will have an appeal which will  simply be heard in a number of years’ time when he will be back in Sweden,”  Anand Doobay, a consultant at London law firm Peters & Peters, told AFP.
– If the ECHR does not issue an interim order, Assange can still apply for  an injunction from the British courts against his extradition while he awaits  the ECHR’s decision on whether it will hear the appeal, a Crown Prosecution  Service spokeswoman told AFP.
– If neither the ECHR nor the British courts make such an injunction,  Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency can proceed with moves to extradite  Assange within that 14-day period.
Under the European Arrest Warrant rules, SOCA must hand over Assange to  Sweden within 10 days after his last appeal is exhausted, a spokesman for the  agency said.
– Should Britain be successful in extraditing him to Sweden, and the ECHR  agrees to hear the case, it would then deal with the case while Assange is in  Sweden. If it eventually grants his appeal the ECHR can order him sent back to  Britain.
– If Assange is still in Britain and the ECHR decides to hear the appeal,  his current strict bail conditions remain in force and he can remain in Britain  until the ECHR proceedings have concluded.
If Assange wins his appeal in Britain:        
– He is a free man in Britain.
– Swedish prosecutors say he would still be liable to arrest in other  European countries and extradition to Sweden, as the ruling is only valid in  Britain.
– Sweden cannot appeal to the ECHR against the judgment, as the court only  deals with cases that involve the infringement of individual human rights, not  state actors.
– Sweden could theoretically issue a new arrest warrant to conform with a  British ruling favouring Assange; although Swedish prosecution authority  spokeswoman Karin Rosander would not say whether that is an option being  discussed.
Swedish law; possible US extradition?
– Once Assange is in Sweden, a court hearing must be held concerning his  detention within 96 hours. The court must immediately issue its decision and  provide a deadline for the prosecution to begin. Assange will be able to appeal  against the detention ruling.
– Swedish prosecutors said it is illegal for Sweden to try him for any  crimes other than those stated in the arrest warrant. It is also forbidden to  hand him over to another country, such as the United States, unless the  original surrendering country (Britain) permits it.
– If the United States makes a request for Sweden to extradite Assange,  Rosander said the issue would be handled not by the prosecution authority but  by the Swedish government, in line with standard procedures. –