WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange lost a court battle to stay in the United Kingdom Wednesday and will be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over sex charges, a court ruled.
Appeals court judges Lord Justice John Thomas and Justice Duncan Ouseley rejected all four of the arguments Assange’s defense team used to fight the extradition.
They will hold another hearing later this month to determine whether he can appeal.
Assange, who has been under house arrest for nearly a year while waiting to find out the results, said Wednesday he will now consider his next steps.
“I have not been charged with any crime in any country,” he said on the steps of the High Court in London. “Despite this, the European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of a case, as judges have made clear here today.”
Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden in August 2010. Although he has not been charged with a crime, Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with the allegations.
The court comprehensively rejected his defense against being sent there to face prosecution, and was particularly scathing about a dispute with one of the women over whether she had consented to having sex with him.
Poor Julian has been living rent-free on a luxurious country estate where he’s been “hunted by groupies.” Now maybe he’ll finally get his day in court.
A London court ruled on Wednesday that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, can be extradited to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sexual abuse there last year. He will seek a final appeal to the Britain’s highest court, according to a person close to Mr. Assange
The decision was the latest chapter in a months-long legal battle that has seen Mr. Assange under house arrest and WikiLeaks temporarily shuttered. In their ruling, two British appeals judges said a European arrest warrant seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition could not “be said to be disproportionate” since it related to “serious sexual offenses,” which Mr. Assange has denied.
A British judge had previously ruled that Mr. Assange should return to Sweden to face allegations of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape made by two WikiLeaks volunteers in Stockholm in August 2010. Wednesday’s ruling came after an appeal by Mr. Assange, who has engaged a series of high-profile lawyers to fight the extradition warrant.
His lawyers said that the ruling gave Mr. Assange 14 days to decide whether to seek to appeal to Britain’s highest court and that his decision would be the subject of a further court hearing.
“We will consider our next steps in the coming days,” Mr. Assange said in a brief statement to the throng of reporters gathered outside the courtroom. A person close to Mr. Assange said he would seek a hearing, which would be held before the same judge who on Wednesday strongly rejected his appeal. If a further appeal is not granted, Mr. Assange would be extradited to Sweden within 10 days.
I hope they say no and boot his ass back to Skandiland. This has gone on too long already.
More at The Guardian