WikiLeaks founder Assange appealing extradition today


12 Jul 2011

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Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange is appearing in a UK court once again today to appeal against his extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about sexual assault allegations.

The two-day hearing in the High Court comes after Assange lost an initial challenge to the extradition order in February. His lawyers swiftly lodged appeal papers in March.

If his case fails again, he can bring his arguments to the Supreme Court, the country’s highest, once he can prove it is in the public’s interest.

Although Sweden has not formally charged the journalist with a crime, he is wanted for questioning about the sexual molestation and rape of two women. The crimes allegedly occurred in Stockholm last August.

Assange argues that if he is extradited to Sweden, he could eventually be sent to the US, where he could be charged with criminal activity relating to the release of hundreds of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables.

However, in February, the UK judge dismissed claims that the extradition would be a breach of Assange’s human rights.

Assange continues to deny any wrongdoing and claims he is being persecuted because of his whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. He says the sexual assault case in Sweden is politically motivated.

The website has angered US authorities by leaking confidential and secret documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables. Washington is trying to figure out if they can bring charges against the 40-year-old over the leaks.

Assange has changed his lawyer and is currently being represented by Gareth Peirce, a human rights lawyer.

Article courtesy of Businessandleadership.com

Photo: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange