Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden

The Wikileaks editor plans to appeal his extradition using the same arguments as contained in the skeleton defence case, according to his defence team

Wikileaks editor Julian Assange plans to appeal his extradition to Sweden in the High Court using arguments that failed to convince the magistrate who ordered his extradition.

His defence team will challenge chief magistrate Howard Riddle's decision on the basis that Assange will not get a fair trial due to adverse media coverage in Sweden and other points already put before the courts, his lawyer Mark Stephens said on Thursday.

Assange extradition appeal

Assange will appeal his extradition to Sweden to face questioning. Photo credit: BBC

"Yes, [we will appeal] on the grounds of the arguments advanced in the skeleton arguments," Stephens told ZDNet UK outside Belmarsh Magistrates' Court. "They were always the good grounds."

On Thursday, Riddle ordered that the 39-year-old Australian should be sent to Sweden under a European arrest warrant (EAW) to face questioning on allegations of rape and sexual coercion by two women.

In his ruling, Riddle rejected the main props of the defence case, which argued that Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor behind the EAW, is biased against men; that any trial faced by Assange will be held in secret; and that Ny did not have the authority to issue an EAW when Assange is only wanted for questioning.

Stephens said the defence team will lodge the appeal within seven days, and he expects there to be a two-month gap after that before the hearing. If the High Court appeal fails, Assange will apply to appeal to the Supreme Court, under the Lisbon Treaty, he added.

On Thursday, Riddle bailed Assange on the same conditions as he was under during the extradition hearing, including wearing an electronic tag.

The prosecution has asked for court costs to be paid by Assange, but Riddle has declined to make a judgement on costs, saying he will leave it to the High Court.

"It's highly unusual to ask for costs in an extradition case," Stephens told reporters outside Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, adding that the fees in this case for translating documents alone amounts to more than £30,000.

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