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Wikileaks founder loses extradition appeal

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his appeal to the UK High Court attempting to prevent his extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations, as the Greens have failed to secure parliamentary support in the Australian's favour.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his appeal to the UK High Court attempting to prevent his extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations, as the Greens have failed to secure parliamentary support in the Australian's favour.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange (Assange image by Espen Moe, CC BY 2.0)

Swedish prosecutors issued a European Arrest Warrant in the UK in December last year over allegations of sex crimes against two women in Sweden. He lost an attempt to block that extradition in February, and last night he lost an appeal of the decision in the UK High Court.

The Australian-born Wikileaks founder had appealed the case on four grounds:

  1. That the warrant had not been issued by a judicial authority
  2. That the crimes did not meet the dual criminality test associated with extradition laws — this means that the acts Assange has been accused of must be considered criminal acts in both Sweden and the UK
  3. That Assange had not been "accused" of the crime, because he had not yet been charged in Sweden
  4. That the arrest and extradition of Assange that was being sought was disproportionate to the offence he was accused of.

The UK High Court rejected all four grounds of Assange's appeal. A summary of the judgment can be read here (PDF).

In Assange's appeal, the defence argued that should Assange be extradited to Sweden, it would make it easier for him to be extradited to the United States, where he may face prosecution for leaking classified US government material on the Wikileaks website.

Back home in Australia, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam yesterday failed to gain Labor and coalition support for a motion to call upon the government to ensure that if Assange is extradited to Sweden, he is not then extradited to the US.

"If Mr Assange is sent to Sweden for questioning on alleged offences unrelated to the work of Wikileaks, the Australian Government should ensure he is not then shuttled to the United States to face concocted political charges under the draconian, First World War-era Espionage Act, aimed at destroying the whistle-blowing website," Ludlam said in a statement.

"The Australian Federal Police have investigated Wikileaks and found Mr Assange has broken no Australian laws, and he has yet to be charged with an offence in Sweden or the USA. The government owes him every effort to ensure his rights as a citizen of this country are protected."

Following the ruling against his appeal, the Wikileaks founder will also be slugged with court costs associated with the appeal, in a time when Wikileaks has publicly admitted to being strapped for cash following blocks on donations to the website through organisations such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America.

Assange has 14 days to seek leave to appeal the ruling.

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