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British loophole could let Assange go

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London. Photo: Sean Dempsey/Scanpix.

A loophole in British law could let Wikileaks founder Julian Assange get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he is currently staying to avoid extradition to Sweden. He is wanted here for questioning and possible prosecution for sex crimes.

The UK is to re-negotiate and opt out of a range of EU criminal justice laws, including the European Arrest Warrant, under which Sweden has requested Assange's extradition. As a result there could be a gap of several months next year when the treaty no-longer applies and before it is re-introduced, and Assange could try to leave the embassy a free man, the British Independent on Sunday writes.

However, the British government may try to get transitional arrangements in place so the treaty continues to apply to the UK, the paper adds.

Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden in 2010, after which he travelled to the UK. He is wanted in Sweden for the final stage of questioning before any trial can begin.

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