LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has failed in his appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, BBC News said. Two judges at the High Court in London decided that a previous ruling in favour of extradition must be upheld.
Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping one woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm last year. Assange’s lawyers say they will appeal at the Supreme Court. They have 14 days to bring the case to the highest court in the land, on the grounds that it raises issues of general public importance. However, Assange’s legal team will first need to seek permission from the High Court to launch the appeal. In February, District Judge Howard Riddle ruled that Assange should be extradited to face investigation following a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The 40-year-old Australian denies the allegations and says they are politically motivated. However, in their ruling the judges, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division Sir John Thomas, sitting with Justice Ouseley, said that the issuing of the European arrest warrant that led to Assange’s arrest and all subsequent proceedings to achieve extradition was “lawful” and “proportionate”.
Speaking after the judgement, Assange said: “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 for a case. We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead.”