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Julian Assange Fears 'Guantanamo' Or 'Death Penalty' If Extradited To U.S.

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In a "skeleton defense" posted on his lawyers' website today, Julian Assange's team posits that he could be subject to "being detained at Guantanamo Bay" or subject to the death penalty were he to be extradited to Sweden, which could lead to extradition to the U.S.

The WikiLeaks founder appeared in court today to schedule his extradition hearing for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex crimes. His defense claims that extradition to Sweden could lead to a subsequent extradition "and/or illegal rendition" to the U.S.

According to the statement, Assange's lawyer's posited that:

...there will be a
real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere ... there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well-known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr. Assange should be executed...

Outside of the court, Assange slammed what he described as the "unprecedented violent rhetoric by U.S. prominent media personalities," drawing parallels with his own experience and that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose shooting over the weekend has sparked a debate across the U.S. over vitriolic political statements.

Assange has been described by a "high tech terrorist" by both Sarah Palin on the right and Joe Biden on the left.

Despite his concerns over extradition, Assange has vowed not to stop publishing the Cablegate documents. Instead, he has promised to work even more quickly for their release. According to the Guardian, he said today:

Our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated. We are stepping up our publications for matters relating to Cablegate and other materials.

These will shortly be available through our newspaper partners around the world - big and small newspapers and human rights organisations.

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