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Assange loses appeal against extradition to Sweden

Last updated on: May 30, 2012 16:22 IST

Britain's Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sex offences.

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

The Justices reached their judgment by a majority of five to two, Lord Phillips told the hearing.

Assange, 40, has spent the better part of last two years fighting attempts to send him to Sweden, where he is accused of sex crimes.

Australian-born Assange denies wrongdoing, saying the sex was consensual. But he has refused to go to Sweden, claiming he doesn't believe he'll get a fair trial there.

Assange's lawyers said they may appeal against the judgment.

He added, "(He) can stay in this country for at least two weeks, while they consider making this unprecedented application to reopen the case on the basis that it was decided on a point of law in the Vienna Convention on the Interpretation of Treaties that was simply not argued by either side and which the court gave no notice to either the Crown Prosecution Service, representing the Swedish authorities, or Mr Assange's lawyers, that they were considering taking into account".

Announcing the decision during a televised hearing, Phillips said the point of law which had to be considered had not been simple to resolve.

A press release on the judgment said, "The issue is whether an European arrest warrant issued by a public prosecutor is a valid Part 1 EAW issued by a 'judicial authority' for the purpose and within the meaning of sections 2 and 66 of the Extradition Act 2003".

It added, "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. It follows that the request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed".

Assange has spent the better part of last two years fighting attempts to send him to Sweden, where he is accused of sex crimes.

Australian-born Assange denies wrongdoing, saying the sex was consensual, but has refused to go to Sweden, claiming he doesn't believe he'll get a fair trial there.

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 Assange subsequently won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Prasun Sonwalkar
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