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Assange Extradition Hearing: Defense Targets Swedish Prosecutor

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he arrived at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, in south-east London, earlier today (Feb. 8, 2011).
Ben Stansall
/
AFP/Getty Images
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he arrived at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, in south-east London, earlier today (Feb. 8, 2011).

On Day Two of the hearing in London into whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden for questioning about alleged sex crimes, the defense has put a Swedish legal expert on the stand to say there have been serious irregularities in the way prosecutors have handled the case, the Associated Press writes.

Larry Miller, reporting for NPR, says that retired Swedish prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem testified there is no need, for example, for Swedish authorities to be asking for extradition. Alhem said there's no reason Assange, who has not been charged with a crime, could not be questioned in the United Kingdom by Swedish investigators.

The Guardianis live-blogging the proceeding here. While there had been talk that the judge might issue a decision about the extradition request today, the Guardian's Esther Addley (who is also tweeting from the court room), writes that "some legal experts think unlikely we'll get judgement 2day." And the AP says that "Judge Howard Riddle could take several weeks to consider his ruling — which can be appealed by either side."

Earlier today on Morning Edition, co-host Renee Montagne spoke with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger about what it's been like for news outlets such as his to work with Assange when WikiLeaks has previously secret information it wishes to reveal.

"He's a bundle of contradictions, but one thing he isn't is dull," Rusbridger says of Assange:

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET: The hearing has ended for today, and "will resume on Friday at 10:30 a.m. [local time]," the Guardiansays. In the afternoon, it adds, one of Assange's lawyers accused Swedish prosecutors of leaking details of the case to the news media.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.