How Unusual Would Assange's Extradition to Sweden Be?

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Swedish prosecutors lost a small battle Tuesday in UK court in their efforts to seek the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden to face allegations of rape, when his legal team won an initial judgment that he should be released on £200,000 bail.

The Swedes have vowed to appeal within the next 48 hours. The prosecutors have argued that, despite the media circus, the case has nothing to do with Assange's notoriety as the founder of WikiLeaks, an organization you may have heard is releasing some State Department documents.

But I've been wondering how often Swedish officials go to the effort to get people in Assange's position extradited.

I could only track down statistics from two time periods, calendar year 2005 and business year 2009-2010, but both show that extraditions are not common. In 2009-2010, a mere six people were sent from the UK to Sweden under the rules of the European Arrest Warrant agreement.  In 2005, just a one single person was extradited from the UK to Sweden.

I am still looking for breakdowns of the statistics by charge, but even the aggregate statistics show that extraditions from the UK to Sweden are rare, though not unheard of. It's important to remember, as Howard Weaver pointed out to me on Twitter, that Swedish authorities have not formally filed rape charges against Assange.

In total, the UK surrendered 699 people in 2009-2010 to all countries for all crimes, up from 516 and 415 in the two previous years.

H/T @Dozykraut

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/how-unusual-would-assanges-extradition-to-sweden-be/68029/