Wikileaks' Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden at Supreme Court

Summary:Julian Assange is to appeal a UK High Court ruling which ruled that the Wikileaks founder should be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault and rape charges.

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, has filed an appeal at the highest court in the UK, the Supreme Court, in a bid to block his extradition to Sweden on charges relating to alleged sexual assault and rape.

The High Court, which served Assange's extradition fate last week, will decide whether the Wikileaks founder can appeal the decision, at a hearing on December 4th, in little more than three weeks time.

(Source: CBS News)

Assange recently lost his High Court case against extradition at the High Court, which gave his legal team only two weeks to orchestrate an appeal to the highest court in UK. High Court officials will still need to deem the case in the public interest for the appeal to go ahead.

Assange was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant in December 2010, where he was bailed and placed, in effect, under house arrest in east England.

Many believe that the arrest all the way through to the extradition hearings are politically motivated, after initial hearings linked the Wikileaks' founder to the organisation itself. Arguing earlier in the proceedings, Assange's legal team said that the arrest warrant he was arrested under was "not fair and accurate", according to the Guardian.

Assange's legal team has made it clear time and again that if he were to be extradited to Sweden, it would be far easier for the United States to extradite him further -- requiring residence in the United Kingdom to remain out of U.S. hands. But if the U.S. wanted to extradite him out of Sweden, the UK judiciary would have to authorise this move.

Considering the close political relationship between the U.S. and the UK, it would be unlikely whether politicians would reject the move. However, the judiciary -- an entity entirely separate from politics -- would have to approve the further move.

As Sweden's criminal justice system does not have a system for bail, Assange will be detained immediately upon his arrival.

The Wikileaks founder had angered the U.S. government after 'Cablegate', where 250,000 diplomatic cables between embassies were leaked and published by various co-ordinating media organisations, including the Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

The cables sparked an international outrage at both governments and Wikileaks, and set to spark the 2011 Arab Spring, which led to revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa.

Last month, Assange told reporters at a press conference in the British capital that Wikileaks would suspend operations, amid a 'financial blockade' of donations by major U.S. banks, including PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, to instead focus on fundraising.

The blockade, which began in December 2010, caused Wikileaks to lose 95 percent of its revenue, the founder said, forcing the organisation to use cash reserves for the past 11 months.

Related:

Topics: Government : US, Government

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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