Julian Assange can take extradition case to supreme court, judges rule

Monday 5 December 2011 11.23 GMT

The high court has paved the way for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to pursue his case against extradition to Sweden in the supreme court.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London to launch his latest bid to block his extradition to Sweden. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Two judges ruled that his case raised a question “of general public importance” which should be decided by the highest court in the land “as quickly as possible”.

Assange, who faces sex crime allegations, was in the London court for the ruling.

Although the judges refused Assange permission to appeal, they allowed him to apply directly to the supreme court for permission to appeal because they considered the case “of general public importance”.

The door to a fresh hearing was opened by Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley, the judges who recently dismissed Assange’s application for judicial review.

In certifying a question, the judges were giving Assange access to the supreme court.

He now has to ask the supreme court justices to hear his case.

The 40-year-old Australian argues it would be “unfair and unlawful” to order his extradition.

The Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping one woman and “sexually molesting and coercing” another in Stockholm in August last year.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables which embarrassed several governments and international businesses, denies the allegations and says they are politically motivated.

Earlier this year, the high court upheld a ruling by district judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh magistrates court in south-east London that the computer expert should be extradited to face investigation.



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