Julian Assange may spend months in remand awaiting possible extradition to Sweden due to the complicated nature of the process, according to an Australian international law academic.
Following Assange's arrest overnight in the UK, Professor Donald Rothwell from the ANU College of Law said that the technical process of getting a foreign national extradited may leave Assange in limbo for months and could be further complicated by a similar request from the USA.
Rothwell said Assange could contest the arrest all the way up to the Supreme Court and that the Wikileaks founder has a number of avenues for fighting the extradition.
"Extradition proceedings can often be determined on technical grounds, such as irregularities in the paperwork accompanying an extradition request," said Rothwell.
"Extradition can be contested on the grounds of 'double criminality' - where the crime is not recognised in the requesting and requested country; 'the political offence exception' - where extradition is sought for a political offence; or that the accused will not receive a fair trial."
Rothwell also noted that Assange is entitled to consular assistance in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Australia's Consular Services Charter.
"Assange's lawyers have requested that assistance and are expecting the High Commission to be able to persuade British authorities to grant them better access to their client so as to assist in the preparation of a defence to the extradition proceedings," he said.