After ruling 5-2 that Julian Assange can be deported to Sweden, Britain’s Supreme Court has granted a two-week reprieve for consideration of treaty issues not previously heard during the two-year case. With the new hearing unpredictable, Assange also has the further option of appealing his extradition order to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In the event of extradition, WikiLeaks and Assange supporters will need to build support in Sweden where a court proceeding is highly possible. Meanwhile, the US administration might at any moment request his extradition to the US where a federal grand jury is examining possible conspiracy or espionage charges. Stratfor has reported that a sealed indictment is already waiting. (New York Times, May 31, 2012) A US trial would be the most significant since the Pentagon Papers case against Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo forty years ago, which ultimately ended in a mistrial and contributed to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.
Meanwhile, the court-martial proceedings against Pfc. Bradley Manning are being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which seeks documents from the government necessary for Manning’s defense. It is widely believed that the Pentagon and Justice Department are pressuring Manning to testify against Assange, who himself is a co-petitioner with the CCR in the request for the documents.