Court sets date to rule on Assange extradition

Court sets date to rule on Assange extradition
The High Court in London will rule on Wednesday on Sweden's bid to secure the extradition from Britain of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over rape allegations, the court said on Friday.

“The High Court will hand down judgment in the above case at 9.45am on Wednesday 2 November 2011 at the Royal Courts of Justice, London,” said a statement.

Assange was arrested in London in December on a Swedish extradition warrant and is currently living under strict bail conditions at the mansion of a supporter in Britain.

He announced this week that WikiLeaks has been forced to suspend publishing classified files after a funding blockade and could have no option but to shut down by the end of the year.

The whistleblowing website has seen its funding plunge by 95 percent due to an “arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade” mounted by companies including Visa and MasterCard since December last year, Assange said.

The former computer hacker denies the allegations made against him by two Swedish women, arguing that they are politically motivated.

His lawyers argue that his extradition would be “unfair and unlawful”.

WikiLeaks has infuriated Washington by releasing tens of thousands of classified diplomatic files allegedly obtained by a US serviceman who is now in prison in the United States.

Many of the files relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while others contain frank and sometimes embarrassing assessments of world leaders made by US diplomats.

British judges hearing Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden deferred their judgement in July.

In that hearing, lawyers representing Swedish prosecutors rejected claims that a rape allegation against Assange, made by one of the women, would not be valid under English law.

Swedish lawyers accused Assange’s legal team of “winding English law back to the 19th century” with their definition of consent.

Assange’s lawyers have also claimed that the European warrant under which he was arrested was invalid because he is only wanted for questioning and has not been charged by Swedish authorities.

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