Sydney: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was unlikely to be extradited from Sweden to the United States if there was a risk of the death penalty or a military court, Australia's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

British authorities won their case to extradite Assange to Sweden to face sex assault allegations, but because he sought asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London they have so far been unable to send him there.

Supporters of the 41-year-old Australian believe that if sent to Sweden, Assange could be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage over WikiLeaks' publication of a vast horde of sensitive US papers.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australia could not get involved in cases outside its jurisdiction but that Stockholm had indicated the former hacker was unlikely to be sent to the United States.

"It's not a subject for Australian diplomacy, it's a subject for consular support," he told the Australian Financial Review.

"We have sought assurances from Sweden (that) due processes will be accorded.”And the Swedes have said they don't extradite anyone if there's a capital offence or it's a matter to do with military or intelligence."

WikiLeaks urges Sweden

WikiLeaks has urged Sweden to guarantee it will not extradite Assange to the US, where he fears being pursued over the organisation's release of thousands of sensitive files, including on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stockholm has received no extradition request from Washington and Swedish law and the European human rights convention ratified by Sweden ban the extradition of a person to a country where they could face the death penalty.

In June, Carr said he had raised the issue of the possible extradition of Assange to the United States with American officials on two occasions and there was "no hint" of any such plan.

Carr has said if America had wanted to extradite the Australian they could have done it during his time in Britain, a country with which Washington has a robust extradition arrangement.

The United States has insisted it had nothing to do with efforts by Britain to extradite Assange to Sweden, and on Tuesday denied former hacker's "wild assertions" it had launched a witch-hunt for him.


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