Lawyers for journalist in secret meeting say decision will clear up ‘great confusion’ that has been evident since 2016
The US Justice Department has requested permission from the UK to extradite Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, to face espionage charges in America.
The request comes five years after a Swiss bank revealed it had detained an American man, Bradley Manning, for handing over files to Assange in 2010.
Assange’s legal team has been holding secret meetings in London to address the “great confusion” that has arisen since Manning’s conviction.
According to details obtained by the BBC, Assange’s lawyers have told the British court that Manning’s conviction should clear up the argument he is not entitled to diplomatic immunity because his diplomatic communications were private.
Assange has resided in the Ecuadorian embassy in central London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault against two women. Sweden dropped its inquiry and the UK has no plans to arrest him.
The Guardian is seeking comment from the US justice department.
“We want to make sure that it’s done correctly,” Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told the BBC. “Bradley Manning, which I’m sure you are aware, was convicted of passing diplomatic correspondence to a journalist and we think that’s clearly relevant to this case.”
Earlier this year, it emerged that Swedish prosecutors would be suing Assange for misrepresenting the nature of a police investigation in an effort to prevent his departure from the country.