A British court ordered bail for Julian Assange on Tuesday, with strict conditions, but either the UK or Swedish governments may appeal the bail decision and deep uncertainty shrouds the next few days. Here is what is known as events rapidly unfold:
The appeal of the bail decision could be decided as early as Friday. If the ruling is upheld, Assange will be released with severe time and place restrictions. If not, he will be back in a British prison in days.
The conservative Swedish government, rocked by this week’s terrorist bombing and with 500 troops in Afghanistan, will seek to extradite Assange for a hearing on non-consensual sex charges in Stockholm. The length of the extradition process is unknown. Complicating the case is the fact that under British law the accusations lodged in Sweden against Assange do not amount to criminal acts. Also under British law an extradition request can be rejected if it is deemed “political.”
Both the British and Swedish governments face domestic criticism that they are servants of US policy, not protectors of civil liberties and due process. If compelled by American pressure, it is possible that the executive branches of the three governments will take extraordinary steps to extradite Assange to the United States by the first of the year.
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