Wikileaks Assange to be extradited from UK; Appeals expected to be lodged

Breaking news: Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, will be extradited from the UK to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault, after arguing the charges are 'politically motivated'.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, will be extradited from the United Kingdom to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault, a judge ruled earlier today.

However, Assange will all but certainly challenge the ruling with a series of appeals.

The defence team has seven days to lodge an appeal, or he will be extradited in ten days.

The case could reach the UK Supreme Court in London, if appeals go ahead. The higher up the appeal process you go, the longer it takes for a court date, meaning an appeal could run on for years, according to Bloomberg.

The presiding judge said that the Swedish extradition warrant was valid 'on the face of it', but the witnesses Assange's legal team put forward were poor, not credible and 'fed responses', according to BBC sources.

The judge also said that Assange had not made himself available for questioning in Sweden, though it was not for him to decide whether Assange had deliberately fled, and that he has 'no doubt' that Assange is wanted in Sweden for prosecution,


Assange is wanted for questioning, not a trial in Sweden, to answer questions relating to two events which occurred in Sweden last year.

The argument put forward by Assange's lawyers is that the European Arrest Warrant was invalid as the Wikileaks founder not only has not been charged with any offence, but that rape and sexual assault are not grounds for extradition.

One of the main concerns for Assange is that he will not receive a fair trial in Sweden, and that the US authorities will attempt to extradite him to face trial relating to his work with Wikileaks.

The UK would have to be asked permission to extradite him further to the United States, however. Assange himself argued that it would be 'politically impossible' for the UK to give permission to extradite him to the US on charges of espionage.

Also, as the Guardian state, Sweden has no system for bail, meaning Assange would be detained immediately upon his arrival.

Last year, Wikileaks released tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables which revealed embarrassing communiqués between diplomats around the world.

Since being released from custody in December, Assange has been living in the east of England but has had to report to a police station every day. 

Assange has always denied the charges put against him.

Late last year, in response to the US diplomatic cables leak by Wikileaks, an email sent by the US Department of State warned students and prospective diplomats not to discuss or post Wikileaks related content on the web, warning that it could hamper their career in the civil service.

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