British Court Upholds Extradition of WikiLeaks Founder

Posted May 30th, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the controversial website WikiLeaks, can be extradited from Britain to Sweden to face charges of sex crimes.

Wednesday's 5-2 decision by the high court upholds earlier decisions made by two lower courts to extradite the 40-year-old Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on a European arrest warrant for questioning over allegations that he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another in 2010. The court rejected arguments by Assange's lawyers that the warrant is invalid because the prosecutor had no legal authority to issue it.

“The majority 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.''

But the court granted Assange's lawyers two weeks to study the ruling and apply to reopen the case.

The WikiLeaks founder, who has denied the charges, can make one last appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The WikiLeaks website gained international notoriety when it released hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, including diplomatic cables held by the State Department about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.