Germany's Scholz speaks out against Assange extradition

Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany

© APA | Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany

# 04 March 2024 18:21 (UTC +04:00)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday said he hoped the British court system would protect Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, from being extradited to the United States, APA reports citing Deutsche Welle.

US prosecutors want to place the 52-year-old Assange on trial over WikiLeaks' high-profile release of confidential military records and diplomatic cables.

"I am of the opinion that it would be good if the British courts granted him the necessary protection because he has to expect prosecution in the USA, given the fact that he has betrayed American state secrets," Scholz said.

Scholz said he believed the chances of Assange avoiding extradition had increased "because United States representatives could not reassure British judges that the possible punishment would be within a framework that is acceptable from Great Britain's point of view."

The chancellor made his remarks during an question-and-answer session at a vocational school in southern Germany.

US lawyers say Assange — indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse — could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, but authorities have said the sentence is likely to be much shorter.