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Assange readies for UK extradition ruling

28 May 2012, 06:31

Published: 28 May 2012 06:31 GMT+02:00

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Britain's highest court is Assange's final avenue of appeal under UK law, having been detained in December 2010 on a European arrest warrant. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Since then, the 40-year-old Australian has been through round upon round of legal battles, culminating in what will be a short ruling at the Supreme Court in central London.

The judgment, expected to take around 10 minutes, will be handed down at 9.15am Wednesday, streamed on the Sky News website and published online once delivered.

Assange will have been living under restrictions on his movement for 540 days when the verdict is handed down.

Assange's case rests on a single point -- that the Swedish prosecutor who issued a warrant for his arrest was not a valid judicial authority.

The Supreme Court president will give a summary of the point of law raised by the appeal, the court's decision, and a brief explanation of its rationale.

A lower court in Britain initially approved Assange's extradition to Sweden in February 2011. An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but he subsequently won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If that court rejects his appeal, Assange will have exhausted all his options in Britain but he could still make a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

Assange has said he fears his extradition would eventually lead to his transfer to the United States, where US soldier Bradley Manning is facing a court-martial over accusations that he handed documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

On May 23, Assange attended a screening in London wearing a Kevlar Guy Fawkes mask.

"This may be my last time in public, so I thought I should start with a situation where you won't be able to see me anymore," he explained.

Assange added: "I think all of us are at our best when we are pursuing an ideal that we find to be important to ourselves and important to others.

"I feel that I have made my days count, so I certainly would not want to exchange days that can be counted for days that cannot."

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in Britain for civil cases. It hears appeals in criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.

The court sits on Parliament Square in central London, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament and with the Treasury and Westminster Abbey on either side.

The judgment will be handed down in the building's largest courtroom.

WikiLeaks supporters are expected to muster in numbers for the verdict.

Would-be attendees were pre-warned of airport-style security and that items of clothing or other materials with messages that "undermine the dignity of the court or which seek to interfere with the proper administration of justice" will not be allowed inside.

In February the Supreme Court heard two days of complex arguments from lawyers for both sides.

Story continues below…

The legal saga began in August 2010 when Assange was accused of raping one woman by having sex with her while she was asleep, and of sexually assaulting another woman, in Sweden.

The former computer hacker insists the sex was consensual and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Assange shot to fame earlier that same year when WikiLeaks enraged Washington by leaking thousands of secret US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After he was arrested in London in December 2010 he spent more than a week in jail before being freed to live under strict bail conditions amounting to virtual house arrest.

AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

08:03 May 28, 2012 by byke
So let's get this straight, he has been under house arrest for almost 2 years.

And he has still not been charged?
09:05 May 28, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
His lawyers should request a no fly zone for American drones, F-16's, etc.. in the air space between the UK and Sweden when he returns for questioning.

If his flight makes it to Sweden, and if he is convicted, then his meager sentence will hardly have been worth the millions in legal fees that were paid to fight the extradition.
09:37 May 28, 2012 by OUIJA
And all began when two Swedish you know what wanted Assanges you know what so deeply, that they did not hesitate in having sex with him, but later on, when he did not agree to play their game, they accused him of rape and, since Sweden is a faminist state controlled by you know what type of so-called women who love rainbow colours, and a state who licks the United States you know what, Assange is guilty as charged. Furthermore, since the United Kingdom acts in the way the United States wants, I would not be surprised that the veredict will be against the man who reminded us what freedom of speech should be.
13:22 May 28, 2012 by strixy
OUIJA, I never thought I'd agree with you on anything but I do! ;) I too think it was a dirty game of two power-hungry and insecure individuals.
14:03 May 28, 2012 by umeåstar
Sorry but the fact he ran and is hiding...and isn't charged shows me he did it. If I was in his shoes I would have went right into the police and followed the process to prove I was innocent. He is hiding out and wasting money in court fees. Plus this is not the first time he has been in trouble or questioned in a sex crime. Man up and if you didn't do it .. you'll be set free... this isn't the US you actually have a chance here.
19:30 May 29, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
In the initial police hearings, Assange admits to having non-consensual sex with one of the women.

Ass-ange is a misogynistic rapist and deserves at least ten years behind bars.
21:47 May 29, 2012 by bcterry
14:03 May 28, 2012 by umeåstar,

You got it right, i'd do the same thing.
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