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Assange loses Sweden extradition appeal

AFP/The Local · 30 May 2012, 12:56

Published: 30 May 2012 10:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 May 2012 12:56 GMT+02:00

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According to the court's 5-2 ruling, the Swedish prosecution authority which issued the warrant for his arrest is indeed a valid judicial authority and thus had the right to issue the warrant for Assange.

"The request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed," said Supreme Court president Nicholas Phillips.

At issue was whether or not a public prosecutor was included in the definition of "judicial authority" as it used in the UK's Extradition Act of 2003.

"By a majority the court has concluded that the Swedish public prosecutor was a "judicial authority" within the meaning of both the framework decision and the Extradition Act," the court said in a statement.

Lord Phillips explained that the English term "judicial authority" stems from the French term “autorité judiciaire” which does indeed include courts and judges, as well as public prosecutors.

But in an unexpected twist, Assange's lawyer Dinah Rose asked the judge for 14 days to consider whether to apply to reopen the case on the grounds that the judgement referred to material not argued in the court.

Rose explained that the court based its ruling a point of law which had not been brought up previously in the appeal process.

She asked the court for more time to consider whether or not the issue should be "reopened", requesting that the commencement of extradition proceedings be delayed by two weeks.

The judge granted the request, which is highly unusual in the three-year history of the Supreme Court.

Click here to read Stockholmers’ reactions to the Julian Assange ruling

Assange, a 40-year-old Australian former computer hacker, was not in the central London court to hear the judgement. One of his supporters, journalist John Pilger, said he was "stuck in traffic".

Outside court, Assange's principal lawyer Gareth Peirce confirmed that the extradition was stayed while his legal team considers whether to apply to reopen the case, although the judgement still stands.

"They've allowed us two weeks to put in a written submission on the fact that the majority of judges have decided on a basis that was never argued in court by anyone, that was never addressed in court," she told journalists.

The point in question is the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties.

"It's a procedural point... that has arisen curiously as a result of their judgement, because the majority have based their decision on the Vienna Convention, which was never addressed in the hearing, one way or another, by either side," Peirce added.

If Assange fails to have the case reopened in Britain, he still has the option of a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The internet whistleblower, who enraged Washington by releasing a flood of state and military secrets on his website, has been fighting deportation since his arrest in London in December 2010 on a European arrest warrant.

Britain's top court was his final avenue of appeal under UK law, after two lower courts ruled he should be sent to Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two WikiLeaks volunteers.

His case rested on a single point -- that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the warrant for his arrest was not a valid judicial authority.

Swedish authorities had argued that if his appeal is granted it could throw the fast-track European arrest warrant system into turmoil, with implications across the continent.

A lower court in Britain initially approved Assange's extradition to Sweden in February 2011.

Story continues below…

An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but Assange subsequently won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which heard two days of complex arguments in February.

The legal saga began in Sweden 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.

He insists the sex was consensual and says the accusations are politically motivated.

The white-haired former hacker 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 WikiLeaks.

One week ago, Assange attended a film 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," said Assange, who since December 2010 has been forced to report to police daily and wear an electronic ankle tag.

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Your comments about this article

10:46 May 30, 2012 by grymagnusson
Get on a plane Julian, get on a plane.
11:08 May 30, 2012 by gpafledthis
Does Malmo have a city jail ???
11:13 May 30, 2012 by Dazzler
I will volunteer to administer the water-boarding! Come get some nancy boy!
12:36 May 30, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
'The plot thickens' in this whole shabby process.

The BBC website reports that the justices' decision was based on their interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties - on which "no argument was heard and no opportunity of making submission was given."

Its extraordinary to think that now an argument is possible that the decision was unfair, and the whole case should be reopened. Watch this space....
13:03 May 30, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
kind of get the vibe that this will go on for a long time ...where does he get the money for his lawyers ? legal aid ?!..more appeals ...delays.....my word against your word.....this will go on till 2015 probably
13:04 May 30, 2012 by Carbarrister
His case rested on a single point -- that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the warrant for his arrest was not a valid judicial authority.

Julian, is this the best you have for arguments? If so, your next "consensual" sex may be with your new cellmate, Bubba.
13:22 May 30, 2012 by unionisten
i dont think its up to the British courts to decide who Sweden deems to be valid judicial authority.

those judges that woted agaist should resign
14:32 May 30, 2012 by bcterry
This wiki leak thing is a joke.

Instead of releasing everything, Assange picks and chooses what will be released and what will not.

ONE man has the power to make the final decision, which opens the door to so much bias and abuse it's laughable.

It's a platform for HIS bias political agenda.

As for this rape thing, if he was not guilty as he claims, he should have hopped on a plane at the first request of the Swedish authorities, upon arrival walk right in to their office, and demand to face his accusers head on.
14:37 May 30, 2012 by EP
Seems like it's dangerous to shag a bird in Sweden, if afterwards you don't fancy her and just wanted to get the leg over and she doesn't like the fact you dumped her, you can be arrested ... nice. Can I cry "sex by surprise" if I get rejected by Svensson bird???
14:55 May 30, 2012 by GLO
Good, Rapeist & Terrorist. What a DIRT BAG........
15:56 May 30, 2012 by strixy
As far as I'm concerned both women wanted to have sex with him. When a condom broke, one of them wanted to force Assange to test himself (but she did not object to carrying on in the moment...). He refused, she got scared. She was told that the only way of getting free antiretroviral treatment is to be a victim of rape. This is the treatment that you administer after exposing yourself to HIV infected substance and it has around 86-90% of success in preventing infection (it makes it impossible for the virus to connect with human cells).

However, this treatment to be effective has to be administered within 72 hours after exposure. No test will tell you if you have HIV 72 hours after exposure. So, unless raped, she would have had to pay for the treatment herself... .

I admire Assange because he dares to show the truth. People nowadays are to mentally lazy to even care about what is going on underneath the surface. Especially in Scandinavia the debiliation of society is apparent - fat paycheck and holiday in Spain is everything people care about. Shame on you.
16:52 May 30, 2012 by Abe L
So much for innocent until proven guilty. People should not ever get extradited based on charges without a conviction. Or in general people should not get extradited to foreign countries based THEIR interpretation of sex crimes. Extradition is for real criminals who are guilty of genocide or similar level crimes.
21:44 May 30, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
Someone should just put a bullet through that rapist's neck already, he's wasted enough taxpayer money on his vain attempts to exonerate himself.
00:21 June 2, 2012 by carolannusa
If people would look at the facts in the Assange case in a rational matter, they would see the string of irregularities committed by the Swedish police and prosecution, not the least of which is that the prosecutor failed to interview Mr Assange although he voluntarily stayed in Sweden for some weeks (and had been interviewed by the police at the end of August 2010). Mr Assange left Sweden with the permission of the prosecutor who then proceeded to move to obtain an arrest warrant against him. She continues to give no explanation as to why she did not question him and has continued to refuse to interview hum through the perfectly valid Mutual Legal Assistance. She seems to break her own rules that sexual offences should be dealt with quickly. The Supreme Court only allowed the argument on one point of law, but there were several points raised by Mr Assange's attorneys that should have been argued as well.
02:00 June 2, 2012 by Dagem Hailemariam
It is retarded to think that a prosecutor has the right to issue any kind of warrant. The reality is that a judge is the only impartial party in a court case. One side is the defense team and the other side is the prosecution.
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