Julian Assange extradition approved by judge
WikiLeaks boss will appeal, but judge says sexual misconduct accusations are extraditable
Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face sexual misconduct allegations, a judge at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London ruled today. The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief will appeal the verdict.
Assange is accused by two women of three counts of sexual assault and one of rape in Stockholm last August. The Swedish authorities issued a European Arrest Warrant and began extradition proceedings in December.
Assange's lawyers had argued that a European Arrest Warrant was invalid in this case because the Swedes had not charged him with any offence.
They also said Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden, where rape trials tend to be heard in private, and that Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor, did not have the authority to issue the warrant.
However, Judge Howard Riddle rejected each argument, saying that the warrant was issued with the intention to prosecute, that all four allegations against Assange were extraditable offences and that Ny was qualified to issue an EAW.
Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters that the ruling simply proved that the EAW system, introduced to make the extradition of terrorism suspects between European countries easier, was "tick-box" justice: "We're pretty sure the secrecy and the way [the case] has been conducted so far have registered with this judge. He's just hamstrung." ·
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