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Sweden Won't Give Assange to US if Death Penalty Threat Exists - Swedish Envoy

© REUTERS / Peter NichollspeWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, he will be subject to investigation there, but Stockholm would never hand him over to the US if there was the risk of him facing capital punishment in the country, the Swedish ambassador to Moscow told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"In Sweden, [Assange] is wanted for suspected sexual assaults, we do not know if he has done it or not, as he has not been tried yet. If he is released from the Ecuadorian Embassy and given to Sweden, then an investigation will certainly be launched," Peter Ericson said.

He went on to say that if the United States had any complaint against Assange, it could ask Sweden to extradite him.

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"If there is legal ground to it, Sweden can give him to the United States. However, if Assange may face the death penalty in the United States, we will never give him up," Ericson said.

Assange came to notoriety over his whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, where many confidential materials, including classified documents, diplomatic cables and materials related to US involvement in the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, have been published since its launch in 2006.

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In 2010, Assange fled to Sweden as the US authorities launched a probe into his activities, to be promptly accused of sexually assaulting two women. In 2012, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

While the investigation into the sex-related crimes was dropped in May 2017 and the arrest warrant was officially revoked, the probe can be relaunched if Assange is extradited to Sweden before August 2020, when the statute of limitations expires. Assange's extradition to Sweden may result in his eventual extradition to the United States, where he could face capital punishment over leaking classified documents.

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