July 25, 2017

Assange loses extradition appeal

Julian going to Sweden? If WikiLeaks goes bust he could always get a job playing Bjorn in an ABBA tribute band. He would have to grow his hair a little longer though.

WikiLeaks founder, Julain Assange has lost his High Court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden but looks set to make a final appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court to avoid facing allegations of sexual assault against two women.

Assange, 40, looks increasingly likely to be spending some time in Sweden in the near future. He showed no emotion as judges ruled he should be sent to be questioned over allegations of rape against one woman and the molestation of another woman in Stockholm last year.

It is understood that Assange and his team knew they had lost the appeal last week and that the four arguments raised by his new legal team failed on all grounds.

However, the High Court has stated that it will reconvene in 21 days – leaving him on the same bail conditions – to decide if he has the right to appeal to Britain’s highest tribunal, the Supreme Court.

This will be possible only if his new legal team, led by the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, can persuade the High Court that his case is representative of issues of wider “public importance” and is not merely a matter of a strict legal decision.

Appeal judges Sir John Thomas and Justice Ouseley said the decision by Swedish authorities to issue a European Arrest Warrant could not “be said to be disproportionate”.

“In any event, this is self-evidently not a case relating to a trivial offence, but to serious sexual offences,” the judges said.

Assange had also claimed in his appeal that the alleged offences would not have been regarded as crimes under English and Welsh law, a stance the judges rejected.

“There can be no doubt that if what Mr Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged,” the ruling said.