What has hung over these proceedings and led to the offer of diplomatic asylum (not political asylum, as widely reported) is his claim that, once extradited to Sweden, he would be shipped to the US to stand trial for his part in the publication on Wikileaks of thousands of US government cables, and then possibly executed.
Australian officials have confirmed that the country's diplomatic mission in Washington has been prepareing for Julian Assange's possible extradition to the US, but called it "contingency planning."
Meanwhile, Australian newspaper The Age reports that according to information obtained from diplomatic cables, the Washington mission is taking the possibility of extradition seriously. They also say the cables show that Australia has no objection to Assange's potential extradition.
The newspaper also says that Assange continues to be the subject of Australian intelligence reports citing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, confirming the existence of at least two intelligence reports concerning WikiLeaks and Assange from the Australian Embassy to the US in February and March this year.