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Swedish reaction to the Assange ruling

"I don't know why it took so long"
3:56 min

Swedish reaction quickly followed the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Julian Assange would be extradited to Sweden.

"We expected this decision for a long time and I don't know why it took so long, it's indefensible,” says Claes Borgström, the lawyer for the two women who are accusing Julian Assange of sexually assaulting them.

Borgström said he expects Julian Assange will come to Sweden.

He said after that, Assange would go to a remand hearing. Then he would be questioned and then the two women will be questioned again to comment on Julian Assange’s new statement.

"And if he's charged with a crime,” Borgström said, “then the women will participate in the trial, but they're aware of that, and they are ready to face the stresses of that, and they want him to answer for what he's done to them."

Julian Assange's lawyers in Sweden continue to maintain their client’s innocence. They say they are ready to defend him and will do so, if it comes to that.

Most judicial experts here think Assange will be handed over to Sweden.

“He must be extradited, after all,” says Sven-Erik Alhelm, a former Swedish prosecutor with over 40 years of experience in the judicial system.

Alhelm says the real battle must take place in Sweden. “If I were in his shoes, I would have come here immediately to solve the problem," he says.

Ever ince the international arrest warrant was issued at the end of 2010, Assange and many supporters of Wikileaks have said the charges against him are politically motivated.

They fear Assange will be extradited to the US, where, according to several media outlets, prosecutors may have already obtained a sealed arrest warrant for him.

Adding fuel to the fire, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is planning a trip to Sweden on June 3.

Alhelm says the conspiracy theories are ridiculous.

“There might be mistakes and misunderstandings, but there are definitely not any political engagements,” he says.

But, despite the UK Supreme Court’s decision, no one knows yet when Julian Assange will be back in Sweden.

Assange's lawyers in London will have two weeks to comment on the arguments the court used in its decision. The court's decision was based on the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

“You’re supposed to, in a fair trial, be able to argue for your case. In this case, because the part on the Vienna Convention wasn’t argued in the proceedings, the lawyers must be given a choice,” says Christoffer Wong, a lecturer in criminal law at Lund University in southern Sweden.

Another alternative, Wong says, is that Assange's lawyers decide to take a new case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“Assange can object to the extradition based on a risk of persecution,” he says. “If they decided to pick up the case you’d have to wait another period while they’re thinking about it.”

However, Per Samuelsson, one of Assange’s lawyers in Sweden, says it is too early to say whether they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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