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Assange extradition hearing begins Monday

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LONDON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said this week's extradition hearing in Britain does not involve allegations serious enough to send him to Sweden.

Jennifer Robinson said that while Assange takes the allegations of rape seriously, the Swedish legal definition of rape is much lower than what constitutes rape in Britain.

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"He insists he is innocent and that this was consenting sex between adults," Robinson told The Washington Post. "The box ticked is 'rape,' but Swedish rape law is different than Britain rape law, which is based on consent."

Assange's defense team has suggested the extradition request was part of a scheme by U.S. and Swedish authorities to choke off WikiLeaks' release of sensitive U.S. military and diplomatic documents.

Assange, who has not been formally charged in Sweden, is wanted for questioning about the alleged incidents.

Two women contend their encounters with Assange began as consenting sex, but degenerated into non-consensual sex. In one instance, Assange pawed at a partner while she was asleep. The other involved his refusal to stop after his condom tore.

Assange's two-day hearing begins Monday and will likely deal primarily with the technicalities of British extradition law.

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