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Assange UK lawyer not expecting deportation case soon

posted 5 Dec 2010, 09:35 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Dec 2010, 09:37 ]

Julian Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens says during a BBC interview he does not expect a deportation case for Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, but would fight any attempt.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM BBC 1 - Lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Mark Stephens, said on Sunday (December 5) he would "certainly" fight any Swedish case against his client but does not expect a deportation case.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Friday (December 3) he and colleagues were taking steps to

protect themselves after death threats following the publication of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables on their website.

"I think that it is interesting to note that people high up the American tree as Sarah Palin have called for him to be hunted down by American special forces, like the Tablian and assassinated. We have seen a number of suggestions that he should be assassinated again from credible sources around the world," Stephens said during an interview by British presenter Andrew Marr on BBC 1.

Answering questions online from an undisclosed location, the 39-year-old Australian said anyone making threats against his life should be charged with incitement to murder.

Washington is furious about the leak of hundreds of confidential diplomatic cables that have given unvarnished and sometimes embarrassing insights into the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

Assange, who is reported to be somewhere in southern England, has his own legal woes.

Swedish authorities said information missing from a European arrest warrant they had issued against Assange for alleged sex crimes had been handed to British authorities.

Stephens said he has not seen any warrant despite asking for one.

Marr questioned Stephens if there were further files to be released, Assange's lawyer said only 216 files out of 250,000 had been released,

Responding to Marr's question whether some of these unreleased file would be used by Wikileaks as a threat, Stephens said the site had been subject to cyber attacks and they felt the need to protect themselves.

"They have been subject to a lot of cyber attacks, they've been subject to censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves and this is what they believe to be a thermo-nuclear device effectively in the electronic age," he said.

Stephens went onto say he was not expecting a deportation case but if the case went to the Swedish state he would "certainly" fight it.

WikiLeaks founder Assange in the past has spent much of his time in Sweden, and earlier this year was accused of sexual misconduct by two female Swedish WikiLeaks volunteers.

This led Swedish prosecutors to open, then drop, then re-open an investigation into the allegations. The crime he is suspected of is the least severe of three categories of rape, carrying a maximum of four years in jail.

Assange has not been formally charged with any crime in Sweden and denies any wrongdoing.