Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Loses Bid To Block Extradition To Sweden


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has failed in his appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Two judges at the High Court in London said that a ruling in favor of extradition must be upheld.

Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping one woman and sexually molesting another in Stockholm last year.

Mr. Assange has staunchly denied the allegations and says they are politically motivated.

Once in Sweden, Assange could be extradited to the United States where he would likely face charges that he published classified documents. If convicted, he would likely face the death penalty.

The Guardian reports:

"The decision means Assange could be removed to Sweden within 10 days, though it is more likely that the earliest time he would find himself on Swedish soil would be around 26 November."

"Assange has 14 days to seek leave to appeal to the supreme court if he believes there is a wider issue of "public importance" at stake in the decision. If he is successful in persuading the high court of that, he is likely to remain on conditional bail until a hearing, which is unlikely to take place until next year."

"If he is denied the right to appeal then British law enforcement officers will be responsible for arranging his removal to Sweden within 10 days."

Last month, Assange, an Australian citizen, said WikiLeaks would stop publishing secret cables and devote itself instead to fund-raising because of a financial blockade on payments to the site by U.S. firms Bank of America. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union.

The blockade began within ten days of the launch of publication of classified diplomatic cables that has been blamed on a "concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against WikiLeaks staff."

In a public statement, Wikileaks said that “The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.”

Assange was nominated this year for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian parliamentarian who entered the nomination said that "His publication of thousands of secret government documents has helped to promote human rights, democracy and freedom of speech."

"Wikileaks have contributed to the struggle for those very values globally, by exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture -- sometimes even conducted by allies of Norway," he said.

Read the court's full judgement here.


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