UK court refuses to reopen Assange appeal

UK court refuses to reopen Assange appeal
Britain's Supreme Court said on Thursday it has rejected an application by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden.

“The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has dismissed the application made by Ms Dinah Rose QC, counsel for Mr Julian Assange, seeking to reopen their appeal,” the court said in a statement.

Seven Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed the move by Assange’s lawyers as being “without merit”.

The court added that the 40-year-old Australian behind the whistleblowing website could not be extradited for at least two weeks.

“In addition, the Court has ordered that… the required period for extradition shall not commence until the 14th day after today,” it said.

The ruling means that Assange has exhausted all of the legal options available to him within the UK judicial system in his efforts to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Attorney Claes Borgström, who represents the women who have accused Assange of sexual assault and rape said there is now little recourse left for the WikiLeaks founder.

“Well, that’s it then. Assange has talked about the European Court of Human rights, and he has every right to do so, but it’s not going to affect the carrying out of the extradition,” he told the TT news agency when informed of the UK court’s decision on Thursday.

Now that the decision to extradite Assange has come into force in the UK, Swedish police have ten days to bring him to Sweden so he can face questioning from the Swedish prosecutor investigating the sex crime accusations against him.

“Within four days of his arrival, he’ll be put before a remand judge,” Karin Rosander, a spokesperson with the Swedish Prosecution Authority (Riksåklagaren) told TT.

The court’s decision comes in response to a highly unusual move in which Assange’s lawyers asked the court to re-open his appeal.

Last month, the court rejected Assange’s last-ditch effort to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The court, Britain’s highest, handed down its initial dismissal in the 18-month legal marathon after rejecting Assange’s argument that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant for him was not entitled to do so.

Assange has said previously he is prepared to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, considered to be the final venue in which he could appeal of lower British court’s decision paving the way for his extradition to Sweden.

TT/AFP/The Local

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