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Assange prepares for Sweden extradition fight

Assange prepares for Sweden extradition fight

Published: 11 Jul 2011 07:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Jul 2011 07:31 GMT+02:00

The 40-year-old Australian will take his legal battle to the High Court in London for a two-day hearing, in the hope of reversing the February ruling.

A judge rejected arguments by Assange's defence team that he would face an unfair trial in Sweden that would breach his human rights.

He was arrested in December after two Swedish women accused him of sexual assault, allegations that Assange denies, as his whistleblowing website was in the process of releasing a huge cache of leaked US diplomatic cables.

It was the site's latest dump of American government documents and infuriated Washington.

Swedish authorities want to quiz him over the sex assault claims, although he has not been formally charged.

Scores of journalists attended his previous court hearings as well as celebrity supporters including socialite Jemima Khan and human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger.

After judge Howard Riddle rejected his lawyers' arguments during the extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, Assange lashed out at the decision and blamed the European warrant system under which he was arrested.

"It is a result of the European Arrest Warrant system run amok. There was no consideration during this entire process as to the merits of the allegations against me," he told reporters after the ruling.

Even if he loses this week's appeal, Assange has signalled he is prepared for a lengthy legal battle and could take his challenge all the way to the Supreme Court.

The former computer hacker has been living under strict bail conditions, including wearing an electronic ankle tag and a curfew, at a friend's mansion in eastern England since December.

Despite the restrictions, on Sunday he managed to celebrate his 40th birthday, which was on July 3rd. He held a party to which more than 100 guests were invited, according to Vaughan Smith, who owns the country estate where Assange is staying.

He has claimed his greatest fear is eventual extradition to the United States, where his lawyers argued he could be sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility or face the death penalty.

US authorities opened a criminal investigation against Assange in July 2010 but are yet to formally bring any charges against him.

WikiLeaks infuriated Washington with its release of classified documents, including around 250,000 US diplomatic cables and thousands of secret files about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

American soldier Bradley Manning has been accused of leaking documents to the whistleblower site and is in a US military prison awaiting a possible court martial on charges that include "aiding the enemy."

US Vice President Jo Biden has slammed Assange as a "hi-tech terrorist", but he has also won many admirers -- his website is among the nominees for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, due to be announced in October.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

08:29 July 11, 2011 by Luckystrike
Good Luck JA! For your sake, and humanity, i hope the UK courts are less corrupt than Swedens entire administative system / Goverment!
11:53 July 11, 2011 by johnny1939
Wish JA all the luck in the world. The whole thing was very petty and unjust and a waste of everybody's money and it smelled to high heaven. Just think of the Strauss-Kahn situation in New York w/ unreliable witness and who really knows what else.

Happy Birstday JA you share it w/ my son.
12:59 July 11, 2011 by Nemesis
The circus continues.
13:23 July 11, 2011 by GLO
The Terrorist and sex criminal, how proud his parents must be!!!
14:14 July 11, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
Mr Assange's position looks 'dodgy' to me. I think he'll be extradited.

Judge Liddle was angry about the shenanigans of JA's Swedish legal rep, in the original hearing, and a typical UK attitude (which I've come across over there) is: 'I can understand JA's fear of not getting fair treatment in Russia or China, for example - but Sweden?'

Apart from that, surely JA wants to clear his name? (I would) I would have thought there would be many 'young Turk' Swedish lawyers who would relish the opportunity to tear holes in the Swedish case.
14:52 July 11, 2011 by Luckystrike
@Simon

Read more about Sweden and the US "special" relationship and unique extradition treaty. Then come here and i bet my left toe, you'll have a different opinion.
16:00 July 11, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
Hear what you're saying about the 1960s Sweden-US extradition treaty - under which JA could very well be sent onwards from Sweden to the US.

Only saying that I think the British public's perception is that JA will get fair treatment in Sweden.

With the Swedes claiming 'no plans to extradite JA to the US: no negotiations between Sweden-US over the case' (etc) if they THEN agree to extradite him, reckon its going to make Sweden look, well, two-faced?
17:15 July 11, 2011 by jmunro43
As Assange begins his extradition hearings, Bradley Manning is still in jail. Regardless of whether or not you believe he is guilty, he deserves his due process, which he doesn't seem to be getting. I saw an interview earlier with a friend of his who has visited him in prison, and it is obvious that Manning's constitutional rights are being violated, you can watch it here: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/11/david_house_on_bradley_manning_secret
17:57 July 11, 2011 by Atlas
The UK high court (or whatever they are called, i don't know for sure) has blocked the extradition of an Albanian wanted for crimes in Albania, on ground of human rights law, section 8...This guy is wanted for a lot of killings in Albania (and was residing in UK under false name and nationality), and yet the UK court decreed he can't be sent home...

Can i recommend to Mr. Assange this guys lawyers!!!
21:02 July 11, 2011 by old git
#7

"Sweden" as you put it, will not look two faced - just play on their usual "naïvety"- sometimes fake as I can imagine would be the case here, some times real as some of their politicians /spokespersons/"people who count" seem to be half the time when it comes to the ways of the world... when you hear/read stories about Sweden and the Swedish "system" in the English (and French ) press etc you would think that all is well and the sun shines out of their dark places, which it obviously doesn't, even in midsommar...
22:10 July 11, 2011 by superturbo
Hang him high, like in the good old days :D
01:08 July 12, 2011 by J Jack
He wont go to Sweden.
01:52 July 12, 2011 by philster61
"Hang him high, like in the good old days :D "

You mean the bad old days...
11:21 July 18, 2011 by actuary
Everybody knows that "condom crime" was punishable by death in the Viking era.
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