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News, May 2012
UK Supreme Court Upholds Assange Extradition
UK Supreme Court Upholds Assange Extradition
France 24, 30/5/2012
By News Wires (text)
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, but gave him two weeks to seek to reopen the case.
Judges at Britain’s highest court rejected by a majority of 5-2 Assange’s argument that a European arrest warrant for his extradition was invalid.
Two lower courts have already ruled in favour of the extradition of Assange, a self-styled anti-secrecy campaigner and bane of Washington.
Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers, and he has been fighting a lengthy legal battle against extradition since his arrest in Britain in Dec. 2010.
The former computer hacker gained international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing secret video footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.
That made him a hero to anti-censorship campaigners but he was regarded as a menace by Washington and other governments. Assange also faced widespread criticism that he had put lives at risk by blowing the cover of sources who spoke to diplomats and intelligence agents in countries where it was dangerous to do so.
Since then, WikiLeaks has faded from the headlines due to a dearth of scoops and a blockade by credit card companies that has made donations to the site almost impossible. Assange’s personal standing has been damaged by the Swedish sex case and he has lost support from most of his celebrity backers.
Since his detention, he has mostly been living under strict bail conditions at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in eastern England. His associates say that amounts to 540 days under house arrest without charge.
Assange’s appeal hinges on a legal technicality rather than the substance of the allegations of sexual misconduct or his claims that the United States has been putting pressure on Britain and Sweden to take action against him.
His lawyers argued the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was invalid because it was issued by a prosecutor and not a judge or a court as required in Britain. Prosecutors acting for Sweden say different countries have different legal procedures which are allowable under the agreed EAW format.
British Supreme Court rules Assange be extradited to Sweden
LONDON, May 30, 2012 (Xinhua) --
Britain's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the appeal by Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, is dismissed, paving the way for his extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.
"The request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed," said Supreme Court president Nicholas Phillips in a ruling handed down after an 18-month-long trial of the case.
Assange's lawyers had argued that the European arrest warrant issued by authorities in Sweden was "invalid and unenforceable," while they still have 14 days to seek to reopen the case.
The Swedish authorities want to question Assange over allegation of rape raised by one woman, and of sexual coercion by a second woman, which reportedly happened on his visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010.
The 40-year-old Australian who founded the Wikileaks website has embarrassed several governments, including the United States authorities, by publishing millions of secret diplomatic cables on the Internet.
Court allows Assange to appeal Swedish extradition
France 24, 16/12/2011
By News Wires (text)
AFP - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was Friday granted permission to appeal against extradition from Britain to Sweden over rape allegations and a hearing will start on February 1.
"The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal and a hearing has been scheduled for two days, beginning on 1 February 2012," said a statement from the Supreme Court, the highest court in England.
The decision means Assange will spend a second Christmas at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in Norfolk, eastern England, as his legal battle stretches into a second year.
The 40-year-old Australian was arrested last December on a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden after two women made allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Assange strongly denies any wrongdoing and says the sex with the women was consensual.
He believes the allegations are politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables.
The Supreme Court decision comes as Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing the files to WikiLeaks, is due to make his first appearance in a US court on Friday.
The hearing will determine whether the former intelligence analyst, who turns 24 on Saturday, should be tried on charges which could see him sentenced to life imprisonment.
Manning is accused of downloading 260,000 US diplomatic cables, videos of US air strikes and US military reports from Afghanistan and Iraq between November 2009 and May 2010 while serving in Iraq, and transferring them to WikiLeaks.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking on the eve of Manning's hearing, said it was a "very unfortunate and damaging action... that put at risk individuals and relationships."
Manning's supporters say his health has sharply deteriorated while in custody.
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