Assange faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador embassy

By Jill Lawless

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, June 20 2012 7:55 a.m. MDT

Smith said he stood to lose his 20,000 pound surety, but defended Assange nonetheless.

"This is money my family needs," Smith said. "But my family don't believe they are facing life imprisonment or death.

"I am convinced (Assange) genuinely believes he will be sent to America and will face something terrible there."

Some legal experts said they were mystified by the reasoning behind Assange's dramatic asylum bid. But human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy, a former member of Assange's legal team, said he could be planning to bargain with Sweden for assurances that he would not be handed over to the U.S.

She said if granted such assurances, Assange might be willing to go to Sweden voluntarily.

Associated Press Writer Frank Jordans in Geneva contributed to this report. Jill Lawless can be reached at

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