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Watching Assange costs UK taxpayers £10 million

Published fredag 6 februari 2015 kl 09.15
Julian Assange and the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister. Photo: AP Photo / John Stillwell/TT
Julian Assange and the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister. Photo: AP Photo / John Stillwell/TT

Julian Assange's fight against extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault has now cost the British taxpayer £10 million, Scotland Yard revealed on Friday.

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012 when the UK's Supreme Court dismissed his bid to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden.

The Australian, who denies allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden in 2010, has been warned he will be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadarian Embassy, prompting the round-the-clock police guard.

Scotland Yard confirmed to LBC radio that those policing costs for the period June 2012 and October 2014 were £7.3 million, with £1.8 million spent on overtime, with the figure now reaching £10 million.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said the policing costs were "embarrassing".

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, speaking on LBC radio, said that Mr Assange should go to Sweden and "face justice".

"Sweden is a country of impeccable democratic credentials with a well-respected judicial system that says that Julian Assange should go to Sweden to face very serious allegations and charges of potential rape," he said.

The WikiLeaks founder has sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy because he believes that if he went to Sweden to answer questions over the sex assault allegations, he would be extradited to the US to face charges of publishing military secrets.

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