British police served an extradition notice on Thursday on WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, but he said he was staying put in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he is seeking asylum.
Scotland Yard said they had served a “surrender notice” on the 40-year-old Australian requiring him to attend a police station, adding that failure to do so would make him further liable to arrest.
Asked if he would leave the Ecuadorian embassy, he told BBC television: “Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law, so almost certainly not.”
Assange faces extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations, having exhausted his options under British law when the British Supreme Court overturned his appeal against extradition earlier this month.
Fearing Stockholm would pass him on to the US, he sought refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in London on June 19, asking the South American country for political asylum.
Assange said he was in an “outrageous situation” and wanted a guarantee that Washington would not seek to prosecute him.
He said the staff in the embassy, a flat in a mansion block opposite the Harrods department store, had been “warm and generous.”
“The staff here are keeping me well and providing for my basic needs,” he said.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers “served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing. This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process. He remains in breach of his bail conditions. Failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest.”
It is understood that officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit delivered a note to the embassy saying Assange has to present himself to a nearby police station at 11:30am yesterday, the UK’s Press Association (PA) news agency said.
Citing sources, PA said a letter was also delivered for Assange.