A court hearing to determine whether Britain will extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden ended Friday.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents in August. Assange denies the accusations, and his attorneys are fighting his extradition on procedural and human-rights grounds.
Judge Howard Riddle said he hopes to announce his decision on February 24.
Assange’s attorney, Geoffrey Robertson, has argued that Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. They argue that Swedish prosecutors have improperly leaked details of the case.
Robertson said remarks attributed to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt have created a “toxic atmosphere” for Assange, who he said is viewed as “public enemy number one” in Sweden. The prime minister suggested that Assange believed women’s rights were worthless, Robertson said in court.
The judge said he would consider the prime minister’s remarks in his deliberations. He spent two and a half days this week hearing the extradition request.
Assange’s website, WikiLeaks, has published tens of thousands of once-secret U.S. documents on subjects ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy.
Assange’s lawyers have raised the possibility that Sweden would hand over Assange to the United States if Britain extradites him to Sweden. Prosecutor Clare Montgomery, representing Sweden, has dismissed that claim.