LONDON — A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Friday that she expects the U.S. to indict him soon, but the prospect of Assange being sent to Sweden in a sex-crimes inquiry may make it less likely that he’ll wind up before an American judge.
While Britain, where Assange is being held, has one of the most U.S.-friendly extradition regimes in Europe, Sweden may not be so quick to hand the 39-year-old Australian over.
“(U.S. officials) might be well advised, if they think they have a basis, to try to extradite him while he’s still here,” said Peter Sommer, a cybercrime expert at the London School of Economics.
Assange faces allegations of rape and molestation in Sweden by two women, though he has not been charged.
U.S. officials are investigating whether he could be charged in U.S. court under the Espionage Act or other crimes — such as theft of government property or receipt of stolen government property — for publishing troves of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and military documents.