Assange's lawyers have today come out with another outrageous defence argument. This time, they are arguing that he should not be extradited to Sweden because he might be sentenced to death in USA. I suppose this makes sense if you also believe that Sweden is a feminist state that is really run by the CIA and that sex by surprise is actually a crime in Sweden, and not some awful euphemism for rape used to trivialise the crime.
First of all, even if one would buy the lawyer's claim that Assange might be tried and sentenced to a death penalty (this is indeed one of the crimes punishable by capital punishment in the US, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org), the country he is supposed to be extradited to, Sweden, did away with capital punishment in 1921 and the country itself is a driving force against capital punishment everywhere (Page in Swedish). That Sweden would therefore extradite a man they even consider risks a capital punishment would be very surprising to say the least. Not only because of the current government's commitment against it, but there would be a public outcry in Sweden if this happened. (Strange, since we all know that Sweden is really USA/CIA, right?)
Secondly, as has been said before, but is apparently worth pointing out again experts think that it would be very hard to extradite Assange from Sweden to the US. Not only are there problems with the extradition treaties that would possibly not allow him to be extradited, there might also be a problem with it having to be a tripartite negotiation. Not only does Sweden have to agree to an extradition (which is unlikely if they think that Assange's human rights will be deprived, as argued above), the UK also has to be in on it. As the UK also has abolished capital punishment, albeit a bit later than Sweden, in 1998, it seems unlikely they would condone such a punishment.
This whole situation has been handled exceptionally badly both by Assange's lawyers and by Assange himself. Instead of publicly issuing statements requesting that this be dealt with in court (whether it regards fighting the extradition or facing allegations of sexual assault), a load of utter BS has been uttered to reduce the credibility of the Swedish legal system, Assange's accusers and the Swedish government. There has been encouragement by Assange and his lawyers to dismiss these rape charges as lies, and fair enough, denying such an accusation is his right and if he believes himself to be innocent he should rightly do so, but to claim it is part of a 'honeytrap' is only to undermine the credibility of the women, and serves nothing but to damage them in the public eye which is hugely unfair. It is fully possible to claim innocence and not attempt to set up a public trial and encourage harassment at the same time. (Yes, it is encouragement, because Assange and his lawyers are hardly blind to what is going on and that the women are targeted and harassed, that their names, addresses and phone numbers have been made available on the internet for the purpose of harassing them. To not realise this would be to be intentionally ignorant and naïve.)
I have consistently called for this to be a trial within the Swedish system of justice, if it even goes so far, Assange might, after all, not be extradited to Sweden in the end. Also, he is only wanted for questioning at the moment, there has been no trial set. I am not in favour of Naomi Wolf's tactics of naming and shaming rape/ sexual assault survivors, and neither am I in favour of doing so with people that have gone no further in the process than being accused of sexual offences. That the Assange case went public to begin with is a very sad thing, indeed, but that does not make right the treatment of the women by Assange and his lawyers, especially when it cannot be proven that they were the ones leaking the rape accusations in the first place. That they are now capitalising on this scandal at the expense of these women who, according to themselves, have been victims of a crime, is appalling and unjustifiable. If it turns out, on the other hand, that these women were the driving force behind the leaking and have secretly been orchestrating a hate campaign against Assange, of course they should be held responsible for that, but until this is proven, one has to assume their innocence, precisely what that Assange's supporters are calling for with regards to the rape accusations against him.
If these women are expected to take responsibility for accusing one of the world's most loved and hated person, then he should rightly take responsibility to act like an adult when he is accused of a crime.