Thursday, June 14, 2012

UK court rejects appeal — Assange to be extradited to Sweden

UK court rejects appeal — Assange to be extradited to Sweden

by Anne Sewell, m.digitaljournal.com
June 14th 2012

Digital Journal reported on May 30 that Julian Assange had lost his first extradition appeal, but that the court had allowed him 14 more days in the country to try and re-open the appeal. Today the Supreme Court has officially denied his appeal, and he is due to be extradited to Sweden within the next ten days. Assange has not been officially charged with any crime, but Sweden wishes to have him extradited in relation to sexual assault and rape allegations. Assange has repeatedly denied these Swedish allegations and maintains that they are false, and are founded on political motivations related to the thousands of classfied documents leaked by his WikiLeaks website. While he does not deny that sex did take place with two WikiLeaks volunteers in Sweden, he insists that this was consensual. Today the court issued a five-point ruling dismissing an application by Assange's defense to re-open the case. The document states that the decision was anonymously agreed by seven judges. The court had announced that the required period for extradition will not commence until the fourteenth day after the initial appeal failed. Once these two weeks are over, officials will have ten days to transfer Assange to Sweden. While legal experts say that he can still apply to the European Court of Human rights to counter the British court's decision, the ruling leaves almost no hope for Assange. Assange's defense team did, however, achieve one thing, as the court has now changed the wording regarding Assange's charges in Sweden. Previously they stated "stands charged", and now the court states "offences in respect of which his extradition is sought." However, supporters of Assange say that this correction means nothing, as the false statement was reported by the international press. There are fears that his extradition to Sweden could result in him being handed over to US jurisdiction. If this happens, the whistleblower will be tried in the same manner as Private Bradley Manning, who is currently facing a court martial on charges of handing over numerous documents to WikiLeaks. Fair Trials International chief executive Jago Russell said: "Today's decision takes Julian Assange one step closer to being extradited to Sweden. Although Sweden is rightly proud of its justice system, its over-use of pre-trial detention means that, if extradited, he is likely to be imprisoned and placed under extremely restrictive conditions."

Original Page: http://m.digitaljournal.com/article/326684

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