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Assange Lawyers Tell U.K. Court He Fears He Could Face Death Penalty In U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates Court in southeast London on January 11.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appeared in a London court as part of his fight against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted on sexual misconduct charges.

It was the first time Assange had appeared in court since being released on bail on December 16, after surrendering to British police who wanted him on an European arrest warrant issued by Sweden.

His lawyers argued that there is a "real risk" that if extradited to Sweden, Assange may be sent on to the United States, where the lawyers said he could be detained at Guantanamo Bay or even face the death penalty.

Assange and his supporters say the 39-year-old Australian computer expert is being pursued because he has infuriated Washington by releasing details of secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his website.

The court decided that Sweden's extradition request will be examined at the next hearing on February 7-8.

compiled from agency reports