Julian Assange loses appeal against extradition

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Nov 2 03:20:06 PDT 2011

(UKUSA legal system now officially a travesty, armed resistance legitimate)


Julian Assange loses appeal against extradition

High court judges rule the WikiLeaks founder should face accusations of rape
in Sweden

Robert Booth

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 2 November 2011 09.48 GMT

Julian Assange

Julian Assange denies the rape allegations and says they are politically
motivated. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has lost his high court appeal against
extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley handed down their judgment in the
40-year-old Australian's appeal against a European arrest warrant issued by
Swedish prosecutors after rape and sexual assault accusations made by two
Swedish women following his visit to Stockholm in August 2010.

The decision means Assange could be removed to Sweden within 10 days, though
it is more likely that the earliest time he would find himself on Swedish
soil would be around 26 November.

Assange has 14 days to seek leave to appeal to the supreme court if he
believes there is a wider issue of "public importance" at stake in the
decision. If he is successful in persuading the high court of that, he is
likely to remain on conditional bail until a hearing, which is unlikely to
take place until next year.

If he is denied the right to appeal then British law enforcement officers
will be responsible for arranging his removal to Sweden within 10 days.

The decision comes three and a half months after the end of an appeal hearing
in July, when lawyers for Assange argued the arrest warrant was invalid
because of significant discrepancies between its allegations of sexual
assault and rape and the testimonies of the two women he allegedly had sex

Ben Emmerson QC, for Assange, had claimed the warrant "misstates the conduct
and is, by that reason alone, an invalid warrant".

He recounted evidence of the encounter on the night of 13 August 2010 between
Assange and a woman known as AA, who was hosting Assange at her apartment,
during which AA said Assange tried to have sex with her without a condom.

Emmerson said there was no evidence of a lack of consent sufficient for the
unlawful coercion allegation contained in the arrest warrant.

He argued the court had to decide only on whether the arrest warrant in
connection with the events was valid on "strict and narrow" legal grounds.

Acting for the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Clare Montgomery QC
said the charges detailed in the warrant were valid allegations and said AA,
and another woman, known as SW, had described "circumstances in which they
did not freely consent without coercion".

She said the definition of an extradition offence "means the conduct
complained of. It has nothing to do with the evidence."

In February, when Assange challenged the extradition moves at Westminster
magistrates court, his legal team warned their client could be at "real risk"
of the death penalty of detention in Guantanamo Bay because they feared the
US authorities would request his extradition from Sweden to face charges
relating to WikiLeaks obtaining and publishing hundreds of thousands of
classified US government documents.

The senior district judge threw out the appeal and ordered his extradition,
and a week later Assange appealed to the high court.

He changed his legal team and adopted a less vocal strategy.

Assange has in effect been under house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk
since December 2010. He has to sign in at a local police station every day,
he wears an electronic tag that monitors his movements and he has to be back
inside the house by 10pm each night.

Swedish prosecutors said Assange has been "detained in his absence on
probable cause suspected of rape (less severe crime), sexual molestation and
unlawful coercion."

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