WikiLeaks’ Assange to quit extradition fight?

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired a Swedish public relations company.

Updated: Nov 14, 2011, 18:21 PM IST

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired a Swedish public relations company in an indication that he is ready to abandon his appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face sexual misconduct allegations.

In a statement on his website, Harald Ullman confirmed he had been taken on by Assange, but there was no indication as to when – if at all – the WikiLeaks founder might travel to Sweden.

“After researching the case it is clear to me that JA is innocent of the rape allegations,” the Independent quoted the statement, as saying.

“Many wonder why he just doesn’t go to Sweden. The reason why is that he is scared that he will be extradited to the US,” it added.

The United States is yet to file charges against Assange, although a grand jury has been tasked with deciding whether he or WikiLeaks broke any US laws through their leaks.

Legal experts say any extradition to the US from Sweden would have to be approved by Britain first, under the terms of the European arrest warrant that he is sought on.

Assange had earlier this month lost his London High Court appeal against extradition to Sweden.

Assange, an Australian, had decided to fight the case at London’s High Court after a judge at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court ruled in February that the WikiLeaks head should be extradited.

The 40-year-old has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents in August 2010.

Assange has been denying the accusations.