Leading international law expert Professor Donald Rothwell has laid out the likely legal future of Julian Assange after the WikiLeaks founder was sentenced to just under a year for breaching bail in 2012.
ANU College of Law international law expert Professor Donald Rothwell FAAL said while the 50-week sentence was significant, there was no prospect of future extradition requests – one from the United States and another potential one from Sweden – being resolved soon.
“The more serious US charges against Assange will be heard tomorrow in a London Magistrate's Court, including a request for extradition,” Professor Rothwell said.
“These relate to a criminal conspiracy arising from the alleged assistance Assange gave to Chelsea Manning to obtain classified US documents.
“The US extradition request hearing will more than likely be the first of many to take place over coming years as Assange's legal team seek to contest the validity of the US extradition before UK courts.
“In addition, there remains the potential that the Swedish prosecutor may reopen their original 2010 investigation of sexual assault allegations against Assange, which would further add to the legal complexity of the Assange case," Professor Rothwell said.
One of Mr Assange's lawyers, ANU College of Law alumna Jennifer Robinson (BAsianStudies/LLB (Hons) '06), reacted to his sentencing by reaffirming that her client's case "has always been about the risk of extradition to the United States".