Assange 'to defy surrender notice'

Julian Assange has been staying at the Embassy of Ecuador in London since last week

Julian Assange has been staying at the Embassy of Ecuador in London since last week

First published in National News © by

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he will "almost certainly" ignore a surrender notice issued to him by Scotland Yard.

Assange has spent nine nights inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London since last week seeking political asylum as part of his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about alleged sex offences.

The 40-year-old told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he will not be heeding the note delivered by officers from the Metropolitan Police on Thursday morning telling him to attend Belgravia police station at 11.30am on Friday.

Asked if he would be going to the central London police station, he said: "Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law so almost certainly not."

Assange is under diplomatic protection in the embassy and cannot be arrested by police unless he steps outside the building in Knightsbridge.

Scotland Yard declined to comment further, but in a statement released earlier a spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service have this morning, Thursday 28 June, served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing.

"This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process. He remains in breach of his bail conditions, failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest."

Assange, a computer expert who is on £200,000 bail, faces accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture. The Australian says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated.

The WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses. Last month the Supreme Court upheld a High Court ruling that Assange's extradition was legal. Last week the same court refused an attempt by him to reopen his appeal against extradition, saying it was "without merit".

Ecuador is currently considering Assange's application for asylum in the South American country.

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