WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses extradition appeal

30 May 2012

Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks

The founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks Julian Assange has lost his appeal in a central London court this morning and faces extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Seven judges at the UK Supreme Court rejected by a majority of 5-2 Assange’s claim that a European arrest warrant under which his extradition is sought was invalid. The judges ruled the warrant had been lawfully issued.

Assange’s lawyer, Dinah Rose, QC, asked the court for permission to challenge one of the points in the judgment relating to Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and the judges granted her a stay of 14 days on the extradition order so she could present her arguments.

Assange, who was not required to be in court, was stuck in traffic, his solicitor Gareth Peirce said.

Assange has been detained since December 2010 on a European arrest warrant issued by a public prosecutor in Sweden and has been under house arrest in London for more than a year.

Attempts by Swedish authorities to arrest Assange over the sexual assault allegations have resulted in a lengthy court battle.

Assange has claimed his arrest was politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks, which published leaked confidential US military and diplomatic cables in 2010.

He has been adamant in his belief that extradition to Stockholm will only result in him being handed over to US authorities keen to strike back over the cables that were leaked online.