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Assange cleared to continue extradition fight

AFP/The Local · 5 Dec 2011, 16:40

Published: 05 Dec 2011 12:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2011 16:40 GMT+01:00

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Two High Court judges threw Assange a fresh legal lifeline when they ruled that the case raised a question "of general public importance" which should be decided by the Supreme Court "as quickly as possible".

Although the judges refused Assange permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, they ruled that his lawyers could write directly to the higher court asking them to take on the case.

Addressing a scrum of cameramen and photographers outside the court in London, Assange said the judges had made the "correct" decision.

"Today the High Court has decided that the issues arising from my own case are of general public importance and may be of assistance to other cases and should be heard by the Supreme Court," he said.

"I think that is a correct decision. The long struggle for justice for me and others continues."

The issue of public interest centres on whether a public prosecutor has the right to sign the European arrest warrant under which Assange was detained in December last year.

The 40-year-old editor-in-chief of the whistleblowing website that has infuriated Washington by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified US documents has no guarantee that the Supreme Court will actually hear the case.

His lawyer Gareth Peirce said his legal team had 14 days to submit a written petition.

She confirmed that if the court refuses to hear the request, then Assange would have exhausted all legal avenues in Britain.

"The Supreme Court receives it and considers it on paper, three judges from the Supreme Court consider it and whether to grant leave to the case," Peirce told reporters.

"If they refuse leave, it is the end of it."

Assange is now set to spend a second Christmas at the country mansion of a supporter in eastern England where he has been living under stringent bail conditions.

Two women in Sweden have alleged that Assange raped one of them and sexually molested another after he held a seminar in Stockholm in August last year.

His accusers' lawyer said the British court decision was "regrettable".

"If this doesn't end with his extradition, you can just toss out the whole European arrest warrant system, since it then would be useless," Claes Borgström told Sweden's TT news agency.

The WikiLeaks founder strongly denies any wrongdoing and says the sex was consensual.

He believes the allegations are politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Later releases of cables from US embassies across the world also embarrassed the US administration with their often frank appraisals of world leaders.

Story continues below…

A lower court initially approved Assange's extradition in February. He appealed to the High Court which rejected his challenge on November 2nd.

Support for the platinum blond WikiLeaks chief has dwindled amid a slew of controversies, including a spectacular falling-out with the organisation's former media partners, the New York Times and Guardian newspapers.

Former WikiLeaks colleagues have turned on him, attacking the way he ran the site.

However, he retains many supporters and this month WikiLeaks was awarded a top Australian journalism prize, the Walkley Awards, for its work in releasing the cables.

The suspected source of the files, US soldier Bradley Manning, was arrested and has spent the last year and a half in a military prison. He is due to appear before a US military tribunal on December 16th.

WikiLeaks suffered a jolt when the site was forced to suspend releasing files in October after a funding blockade. It resumed publication last week with the launch of a project on the global surveillance industry.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:13 December 5, 2011 by Liquidmonkey
why would any court allow someone to be extradited when they have NOT been charged with anything?

if the answer here is yes, then the british courts are as corrupt as the swedish ones.

disgusting really.
14:24 December 5, 2011 by philster61
Agreed Liquidmonkey.... But we have always known that about the British Courts.... The British are in the back pockets of the US... Whatever they say , UK does.....
18:34 December 5, 2011 by J Jack
Are you suggesting that US the legal system is wrong or just that they also want Julian and Sweden could hand him over but the UK wouldn't? If that were possible then that would make the Swedish legal system the worst of the three. I would say the UK system is protecting the rights of this individual which is a good thing.
20:55 December 5, 2011 by tgolan
It is obvious that the question is no longer about Assange but about the principals for extradition which without any discussion have been changed dramatically to the detriment of the defendants human rights,

First of all up until this new European law, defendants could only be extradited if charges were layed and "prima facia" , evidence provided , that is showing that some kind of evidence exists, ( not proof of guilt) but proof that there is evidence. Also that if extradited you could only be charged with the crimes in the extradition request and you could not be sent on to a third jurisdiction with out the original jurisdictions permission, and the defendant had a RIGHT to be returned to the original jurisdiction if found not guilty. ... Now you can be extradited on the wim of the police or prosecute with out any facts presented, that is a violation of human rights and a open door to abuse, as we have seen with Greece extraditing innocent people from England on no proof and holding them 18 months in a hell hole only to drop charges at the trial. ITS time to stop this insanity, Assage can be questioned in the UK
23:36 December 5, 2011 by Harry®
Can't see why the Swede's cannot send a flatfoot over to London to interiew him or at least have London Police interview him about any concerns the CIA want him for?

Be a damn lot cheaper
00:56 December 6, 2011 by Miners
Seems to me there is only one person in Australia who is prepared to be identified with the Rule of Law and Democracy which Australia is lacking especially in the Australian Judicial System. Observing proceedings in court on Monday was West Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam who is concerned for Assange's safety should he be taken to the US.

"I've travelled to London at my own expense to attend the hearing, to meet Mr Assange, to meet his legal team and effectively to represent millions of Australians who are very concerned that the Australian government hasn't done enough in defence of a citizen in major legal trouble, and effectively I will now travel to Sweden because I am very concerned that if he is extradited to Sweden that he will very shortly find himself on his way to the United States," Sen Ludlam told AAP.

Its good to know that in some way Auzzies are still connected to the oldest legal system in the world and probably the best there will ever be.Julian Assange will finish that which he came to accomplish. He chose to experience this earthly existence.He chose the reason for his earthly existence and he will finish that which he has come to do.Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant - Julian.
02:07 December 6, 2011 by sgt_doom
Highly recommend this insightful, logical deconstruction of the deconstruction of this political behind the scenes injustice by Naomi Wolf:


And to repeat the background data:

A quick review: everyone involved in this appears to be financially related to the Bonnier family whose tabloid publication (now where have we heard that term lately???) first appealed to be the sole publisher of Julian Assange's Wikileaks -- which he turned them down on when he was back in Sweden, originally.

Next, we see Ardin, convincing a younger female and recent intimate of Assange's, to go to the Swedish police with her about Assange. The case is dropped, then picked up again for highly questionable and political reasons.

Next, a Bonnier tabloid begins publishing contrived stories about the Assange "rape", etc., etc., etc.

A Swedish prosecutor's office, in Gothenburg, instead of Stockholm, strangely enough, takes up an already dropped case due to lack of convincing evidence, or any real evidence. (Gothenburg is where Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Systems AB is located - Jeppesen Dataplan is popularly known as Boeing's "extreme rendition airlines".)

The cast of characters: The Bonnier publishing/media family, Ardin -- who has worked for one or more of their tabloids, etc., Thomas Bodstrom, who has financial ties to the Bonnier business and was former Justice Minister who colluded with the American CIA to extreme rendition two innocent Swedish immigrants of Arab extraction, who were later acquitted and reimbursed monies for their injuries, etc. -- Attorney Borgstrom, with ties to the Bonnier family, and likewise other members of Sweden's Ministry of Justice, etc.

[From previous comments at this site by a most intelligent commenter:]

Many posters here have asked why a series of expensive appeals, all funded by the British tax payer, are necessary? Couldn't a prosecutor hop on a Ryan Air flight, (about 1 500 SEK, including a pleasant pub lunch) and interview Mr Assange in England?

Lord Justice Thomas asked the same question yesterday, and seemed to get a bit peeved that no one representing the Swedish prosecutor wa prepared to properly answer him. Hopefully someone is about to inject some much needed common sense and fiscal responsibility into this rotten case.
07:08 December 6, 2011 by philster61
Excellent read Sgt_Doom. And spot on.... Assange knows he must avoid being on Swedish soil. This "rape" case is a smokescreen... People seem to have forgotten that it was only a year or so ago, that some unregistered flights were coming in and out of Sweden. Lends credence to the extreme rendition case.
10:04 December 6, 2011 by Åskar
Conspiracies, conspiracies, everywhere conspiracies ...
10:53 December 6, 2011 by philster61
In denial Askar?

You should do some research sometime........
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