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Julian Assange 'declines' request to surrender to police

Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks website, will refuse to comply with a Metropolitan Police request to surrender himself to officers, his representative said Friday.

julian assange wikileaks 2012 5 29Enlarge
In a file photo taken on February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks during a press conference in central London. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, UK – Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks website, will refuse to comply with a Metropolitan Police request to surrender himself to officers, his representative said Friday.

On Thursday, UK extradition police delivered a letter to Assange, who is currently holed up inside Ecuador’s embassy in London while the Ecuadorian government decides whether to accept his request for asylum. The document requested that he turn himself over to police at 11.30 BST on Friday, the BBC reported.

His representative, Susan Benn, said he had been advised to “decline to comply” with the request, and would remain inside the embassy while his asylum application was processed, according to The Independent. In a statement read out on his behalf, Assange said: “This should not be considered any sign of disrespect. Under both international and domestic UK law asylum assessment take priority over extradition claims.”

More from GlobalPost: Julian Assange asylum request considered in Ecuador

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy last week after a UK court upheld Sweden’s right to request his extradition to face allegations of rape and indecency there.

According to The Guardian, Assange says he fears that if he goes to Sweden he could be extradited to the US, where could face the death penalty over the publication of leaked diplomatic correspondence on the Wikileaks site. He is already in breach of his UK bail conditions, and is now liable for arrest due to his failure to turn himself over to police. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120629/julian-assange-declines-request-surrender-police