Assange Loses Court Bid To Block Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his High Court bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions over alleged sex crimes.

Judges rejected claims the extradition would be unlawful and upheld an earlier ruling paving the way for the move to go ahead.

Swedish prosecutors want to grill him over allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.

Mr Assange has always denied the claims and insists his sexual contact with the two women in Stockholm last year was consensual.

The whistleblower arrived at court wearing a navy blue suit and a Remembrance Day poppy and was mobbed by supporters as he entered the building.

But the High Court upheld the ruling made by District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in February that he should be extradited to face investigation.

It ruled the issuing of the European arrest warrant (EAW) that led to Mr Assange's arrest and all subsequent proceedings to achieve extradition were "proportionate".

And they dismissed the argument that the warrant was invalid because it had been issued by a prosecutor and not a "judicial authority".

The judges held the action of the prosecutor was subject to the independent scrutiny of Swedish judges "which, as judges of another (EU) member state, we must respect".

The court also rejected Mr Assange's assertion that the descriptions of the offences were not a fair and accurate account of the conduct alleged against him.

Mr Assange's lawyers have said they will now consider whether to apply to take the case to the Supreme Court but to do so they must satisfy a public interest requirement.

They told the court they will take the 14 days open to them to consider an appeal. The WikiLeaks boss is due back at the High Court in three weeks.

After the ruling, he said: "I have not been charged with any crime in any country. Despite this, the European Arrest Warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of a case, as judges have made clear here today. We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead."

He added: "No doubt there will be many attempts made to try and spin these proceedings as they occurred today but they are merely technical. Please go to if you want to know what is really going on in this case."

The 40-year-old Australian has always insisted the case against him is politically motivated because of his Wikileaks revelations.

Vaughan Smith, who Mr Assange has been staying with for most of the year, said he was "completely surprised" by the decision.

The owner of the journalists' haunt The Frontline Club told Sky News he genuinely expected any move toward extradition to be halted.

He said Mr Assange would return to stay with him in Norfolk.

Supporters gathered outside the High Court said they were "outraged" and vowed to continue to give the WikiLeaks boss their full support.

Ciaron O'Reilly, 51, said: "Assange is probably the most amazing person in recent history who's upset so many powerful people in such a short space of time so it's obviously not a level playing field."

The Australian shot to fame last year after his website released Collateral Murder - video footage of a US air crew shooting Iraqi civilians.

The site then released a series of leaked documents, including US Embassy cables and Afghanistan and Iraq war logs which were drip-fed to the media.

Mr Assange duly became a minor celebrity but was arrested in December 2010 over the Swedish allegations.

He recently revealed his website is at risk of closure and is suspending publishing operations as it tries to combat a financial blockade and raise new funds.


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