Assange loses extradition battle

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 02, 2011


To appear in Swedish court on sexual assault charges

The founder of Wikileaks, Mr Julian Assange, has lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault.

“We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead,” said Mr Assange, following the verdict, delivered at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday.

“I have not been charged with any crime in any country, despite this the European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of the case,” he said. “No doubt there will be many attempts to spin proceedings, but they are merely technical.”

Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, had appealed against the European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden, but the two judges in the High Court rejected claims that they were unlawful and unfair.

The debate centred on the validity of the arrest warrant. Mr Assange's lawyers argued that the warrant was invalid because there was insufficient evidence of the charges, and that the allegations being made against him wouldn't be considered a crime in the UK.

Previously lawyers had also argued that the case was politically motivated, triggered by Wikileaks' release of the over 2,50,000 US embassy cables last year. They questioned whether he would receive a fair trial in Sweden.

Following Wednesday's verdict, Mr Assange will have a fortnight to appeal to Britain's Supreme Court but must gain the High Court's permission to do so.

Mr Assange, 40, has been under house arrest at Ellingham Hall, the home of the founder of London-based Frontline Club, Mr Vaughn Smith, since late last year. Though he is required to wear an electronic tag, sign in at a police station daily, and be back by 10 p.m. each day, he made regular visits to London, speaking to protestors at the Occupy London rally near St. Paul's Cathedral last month.

In October, Wikileaks announced that it would be temporarily suspending publishing operations to focus on fund raising and fighting against the financial blockade against it, including through the European Commission.

Blockade cost

Mr Assange estimated the blockade by Visa, Bank of America and Mastercard could have cost Wikileaks as much as €50 million.

Still it is clear the organisation remains as active as ever. Wikileaks will be releasing a new submission system at the end of November, which bypasses all certification authorities.

Those, Mr Assange argued, can no longer be trusted, making all current whistle-blowing drop boxes unsafe.

At an informal meeting three-hour meeting over the weekend near Ellingham Hall on Saturday, Mr Assange remained positive about the future of Wikileaks, making it clear that it was continuing to work on several major projects. And it is from India that the organisation receives most messages of support, he said.

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Published on November 02, 2011
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