Court rules WikiLeaks Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden (+video)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault, Britain's supreme court ruled.
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Assange's appeal hinges on a legal technicality rather than the substance of the allegations of sexual misconduct or his claims that the United States has been putting pressure on Britain and Sweden to take action against him.Skip to next paragraph
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His lawyers argued the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was invalid because it was issued by a prosecutor and not a judge or a court as required in Britain. Prosecutors acting for Sweden say different countries have different legal procedures which are allowable under the agreed EAW format.
EUROPEAN APPEAL POSSIBLE
After Wednesday's ruling the Supreme Court gave Assange two weeks to seek to re-open the case. Assange's lawyers said some of the judges appeared to have based their decision on a legal point that had not been argued in court, preventing them from making a counter-submission.
The flamboyant Australian could also take his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
If he successfully takes up either of those options, he could get the extradition process put back on hold, and it could be months before any conclusive verdict.
Per Samuelson, one of Assange's two Swedish lawyers, said the legal team was still deciding whether to appeal, but he was confident his client would be cleared if he had to go to Sweden.
"I feel a strong conviction that he will, in Sweden, in due time, one way or another, be vindicated - he will be exculpated and acquitted ... I look forward to this with confidence," he told Reuters.
Assange's personal travails have accelerated WikiLeaks' slide towards irrelevance since its heyday.
The suspected source of the site's biggest and most dramatic 2010 leaks, U.S. intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, is now facing 22 criminal charges which, if he is convicted, could land him in jail for life.
Manning's predicament has not encouraged any new sources to come forward.
Instantly recognisable with his unusual white-blond hair, Assange has appeared in an episode of hit U.S. animation show "The Simpsons". He has also launched a talk show on Russia Today, a Kremlin-funded English language TV station.
(Additional reporting by Alistair Scrutton and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jon Boyle)
[Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated in the summary section why Sweden wants to extradite Julian Assange.]