On several earlier occasions Assange has also said that he fears being passed on to the US if he were to be extradited from Great Britain to Sweden.
SvD FACT CHECK:
According to the Swedish Justice Department the total number of extradition demands from the US since the year 2000 is six. Sweden has said no twice, both times because the person wanted by the USA could not be found. If he had been found the authorities would subsequently have considered if he were to be extradited or not. It is thus not clear what would have happened if the persons had been found in Sweden.
“In extradition cases the normal procedure is that a country that wants to get hold of a crime suspect starts by making inquiries and gauging the possibility of an extradition”, explains chief prosecutor Nils Rekke. “If a country wanting someone extradited has received advance information that there are legal obstacles in the extraditing country, there will probably not be any formal demand for extradition made.”
Do countries generally check the requirements carefully so that they then only file an extradition demand if they are almost entirely sure that it will be granted?
“Yes”, says Nils Rekke. “They want to be sure in order to avoid a rejection. Just as we do not want to waste time and effort trying to get another country to extradite someone at the same time knowing that it is against the laws of that country. That is a pointless effort”, Rekke says.
So there may be cases where the USA has wanted to have someone extradited, but after having received an informal no, have refrained from sending an application.
One way of making an informal inquiry is to declare a person wanted through Interpol, which means that one country asks of any other country to have the individual extradited if he or she is found. But if Sweden has objections against an extradition,that would most probably mean that the US would not file a formal request.
However the Swedish National Police Board has no statistics on how many times the US has used Interpol to search for someone who has eventually been found in Sweden, but not been extradited. Therefore it is not possible to ascertain with certainty if the USA has wanted to have someone extradited but refrained from making a formal application.
It could also be the case that the US actually has wanted persons extradited, but never made a formal demand knowing that it would not be accepted. According to Nils Rekke this is commonplace. Assange wanted to make the point with his statement that there is a high probability of being extradited from Sweden to the USA if there is an American demand. That statement is misleading since it does not take into account how extradition cases are handled.
As earlier noted by SvD it will not only be a matter for Sweden if the US wants him extradited. Since he in that case would be here in Sweden following an extradition from Great Britain there has to be British assent to sending him on to a third country. Furthermore Assange is presently not charged in the US with any crime and to be able to try to have him extradited the United States must charge him with a crime that carries a minimum sentence of two years both in American and Swedish law.
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