The US/Sweden agreement

by Eva Blum-Dumontet

Next Wednesday, the UK Supreme Court will officially release its decision regarding Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden to respond to allegations of sexual offences, while no charge has been placed yet.

However if the founder of Wikileaks gets extradited Sweden may not be the final destination of this long legal journey.

Indeed in March 14th 1983 – while the Cold War was still dividing the world and influencing political and diplomatic decisions – Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States – signed a treaty with Sweden in order to “make more effective the Extradition Convention signed at Washington October 24, 1961,” in other words to facilitate the extradition of individuals considered criminals or potential criminals by the United States and Sweden.

This treaty would force Sweden to hand Julian Assange over to the United States, if the US was to ask Julian Assange’s extradition. Indeed, Article I states that “each Contracting State undertakes to surrender to the other (…) persons found in its territory who are sought for the purpose of prosecution, who have been found guilty of committing an offense, or who are wanted for the enforcement of a sentence.”

This treaty also applies to anyone suspected of “conspiring in, attempting, preparing for, or participating in, the commission of an offense.”

Hence a simple request from the United States would lead to Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States.

Technically the United States does not have to wait for Sweden to sort out the sexual offence allegations. Article VI(b) indeed mentions that someone prosecuted in the requested state (in Assange’s case Sweden) can be handed over to the requesting country (in this case the US) for the prosecution and may be handed back to the requested state after the decision has been taken, following an agreement decided upon by the two states.

With this framework the US could ask Sweden for Assange upon his arrival and after being prosecuted in the US for espionnage, the US and Sweden would decide whether he should be sent back to Sweden to eventually sort out the sexual offense allegations.

Article XII of the treaty could also have a decisive influence in the coming days – if Julian Assange were to be extradited to Sweden. The article indeed allows the provisional arrest of someone whose extradition has been requested. Interpol is in this case asked to intervene.

For more info on Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden, take a look at Justice for Assange.

Understanding the Wikileaks Grand Jury will be live tweeting from the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Check out the blog or our twitter account (@wlgrandjury) for frequent updates starting from 8:30.