Julian Assange Loses Extradition Appeal, Could Appeal to UK Supreme Court

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Julian Assange directed the public to the website SwedenVersusAssange in a statement after a UK court rejected his appeal of an extradition hearing. (Credit: The Guardian, screenshot)

WikiLeaks‘ Julian Assange has been ordered again to be extradited to Sweden.

In July 2011, Assange appealed a February 2011 UK ruling calling for his extradition.  The High Court announced Nov. 2 its decision to reject his extradition appeal, according to the Guardian.  The judges — Justice Thomas and Justice Ouseley — decided that the European arrest warrant against Assange filed last year was legitimate and “proportionate.”

Note: Assange has not been charged with any sexual offenses, but Sweden has called for Assange’s extradition so he can be questioned about charges of sexual abuse filed by two women in Sweden last year.  Read our February story about the initial extradition order here.

Assange currently is on bail, according to the Guardian.  Also, the Guardian reported his attorneys said “they would challenge the £19,000 costs against him, indicating he might not have the means to pay.”  As iMediaEthics previously wrote, UK publisher Canongate published a draft of Julian Assange’s autobiography in September 2011.  Assange said he didn’t approve or fact-check the published work and earlier this year said he didn’t want it published because it could incriminate him.  Canongate went ahead and published because the publisher said the contract was still standing and that Assange hadn’t returned the publisher’s advance.  According to Assange, the money is tied up in his legal costs.

Assange is quoted by the Guardian as saying after the ruling:

“No doubt there will be many attempts made to try to spin these proceedings as they occurred today but they were merely technical. So please go to swedenversusassange.com if you wish to know what is really going on in this case.”

Assange may appeal to UK’s Supreme Court in the next 14 days, the Guardian reported.

According to the New York Times, “If a further appeal is not granted, Mr. Assange would be extradited to Sweden within 10 days.”  The Guardian published the judge’s ruling here. The UK judiciary also published the judgment here.

The Guardian noted that “The judges rejected the appeal on all four grounds made by his legal team.”   The four arguments Assange’s attorneys claimed in attempting to have the extradition order reversed, according to Swedish news site the Local,  were

  1. “Because the European Arrest Warrant under which he was held was issued by a prosecutor, not a court, it was invalid.”
  2. The accusations made in Sweden aren’t “offences under English law”
  3. The arrest warrant was for questioning and not charges against Assange.
  4. “The arrest warrant was disproportionate.”

Further, the Guardian explained, that “To appeal again, Assange must persuade the judges there is a wider issue of “public importance” at stake in the latest decision” and an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court “is unlikely to take place until next year.”

UPDATE: 11/3/2011 11:13 AM EST: Added another link to the ruling.

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Julian Assange Loses Extradition Appeal, Could Appeal to UK Supreme Court

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