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Julian Assange loses extradition appeal at Supreme Court

By -BBC | May 30th 2012

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his Supreme Court fight against extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sex offences.

The judgement was reached by a majority of five to two, the court's president, Lord Phillips, told the hearing.

Mr Assange's legal team was given 14 days to consider the ruling before a final decision is made, leaving the possibility the case could be reheard.

The court ruled the extradition request had been "lawfully made".

The BBC's Dominic Casciani says Mr Assange's legal team may make an unprecedented attempt to reopen the case because he lost on a point not argued in the court.

Mr Assange, who has been on conditional bail in the UK, did not attend the hearing in central London.

The 40-year-old Australian is accused of raping one woman and "sexually molesting and coercing" another in Stockholm in August 2010, but he claims that the allegations against him are politically motivated.

'Judicial authority'

Mr Assange's lawyers had asked the court to block his removal, arguing that a European arrest warrant issued against him was "invalid".

Dinah Rose QC, acting for Mr Assange, said his latest appeal raised the issue of law as to whether the Swedish public prosecutor constituted a "judicial authority" capable of issuing a valid warrant under the provisions of the 2003 Extradition Act.

Lord Phillips, announcing the decision during a televised hearing at the UK's highest court, said the point of law which had to be considered had not been simple to resolve.

Mr Assange's Wikileaks website published material from leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing several governments.

The key legal question for the seven judges was whether the prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant had the judicial authority to do so under provisions of the 2003 Extradition Act.


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