Britain’s Supreme Court Backs Extradition Of WikiLeaks Chief Julian Assange To Sweden

Britain’s highest court ruled by a 5-2 vote on Wednesday that the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, should be deported to Sweden to face allegations of sexual abuse there, the culmination of an 18-month legal battle.

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Britain’s highest court ruled by a 5-2 vote on Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, should be deported to Sweden to face allegations of sexual abuse there, the culmination of an 18-month legal battle.

The Guardian:

But lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder were given two weeks to decide whether to challenge one of the points made in the judgment, and Assange's extradition will be stayed at least until then. Dinah Rose QC, for Assange, said that the justices had made their decision based on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties - but the provisions of that convention had not been raised during the hearing.

Legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg said this meant there was "everything to play for still", and it would be "very embarrassing" if the supreme court had to reopen the case on the basis that "they might have considered something which they gave the parties no opportunity to argue".

In brief, the judges ruled that the the UK had signed up to the European framework on extradition in order to help create a single system for surrendering accused people, and that it was always intended that the11 EU member states that allow prosecutors to issue extradition orders – as Sweden, but not the UK, does – would be able to continue doing so.

Lord Mance, one of two dissenting justices, said the wording of the framework decision was ambiguous and so it was appropriate to consider what ministers said at the time, which was that it would be a judge, court or magistrate that issued the order.

Mr. Assange -- who was not present in court -- was granted a two-week stay of extradition while he and his lawyers consider making the application to re-open the case.

Here is the judgement in full (pdf).

About Diane Sweet

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Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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