US may execute Assange if extradited, fears his lawyer

 The 39-year-old Australian, who on Tuesday faced a second day in a British court, deposed behind closed doors, with his lawyers arguing that he fears he may be sent to the US where he could face death penalty.

Stockholm-based Bjorn Hurtig said contradictory messages posted on Twitter and a blog suggested the two alleged victims may have a “hidden agenda”.

The 45-year-old lawyer underlined that it was “outrageous” for a prosecutor to publicly confirm the 39-year-old Australian was under investigation for rape, saying his client faces one of the “weakest” cases he has ever seen in his career. In a statement submitted to the Woolwich Crown Court in south London on Tuesday, Hurtig attacked Assange’s treatment at the hands of the Swedish authorities.

“In my opinion, having studied the case file, as well as other material I was permitted to inspect but not to take copies or notes of (text messages from the complainants’ mobile telephones) the case is one of the weakest I have ever seen in my professional career,” Hurtig said.

“Even leaving to one side evidential problems, I can see from the SMS/text messages, in which the complainants speak of ‘revenge’, obtaining money and speaking about Assange in the press, that they may have a hidden agenda, which casts serious doubt on their accusations and their trustworthiness,” he said.

Assange faces three charges of sexually assaulting one woman and one charge of raping another during a week-long visit to Stockholm last August.

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