Herald Sun May 30, 2012
JULIAN Assange has lost his appeal to block his extradition to Sweden through the British Courts, but the Wikileaks founder missed the judgment – possibly because of traffic congestion.
The 40-year-old Australian was not present at the Supreme Court to hear the decision.
But his lawyer Dinah Rose QC immediately flagged her intention to appeal the judgment.
Speaking outside court John Pilger said he believed Assange may have been caught in traffic.
The case hinged on a single point – that the Swedish prosecutor who issued a warrant for his arrest was not a valid judicial authority in the eyes of British law.
Prosecutors acting for Sweden countered that the European Arrest Warrant system allowed for differences in legal procedures between countries.
The court sided with the prosecutors, dismissing Assange’s appeal by a majority of five to two.
He is wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations in Sweden.
Assange, who grabbed the world’s attention when his website Wikileaks released secret secret video footage and thousands of US diplomatic cables about Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010, has been fighting extradition since his arrest in Britain the same year.
He has argued extradition to Stockholm could pave the way for his extradition to the United States where he could face espionage or conspiracy charges over the leaks.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Australia will provide consular services to Julian Assange, who has lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden.
The opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said the Australian government must provide unqualified support for Mr Assange in consular terms.
“He deserves and should receive the same level of consular support that any Australian citizen should expect in these circumstances,” Ms Bishop said.
Swedish prosecutors have sought Assange’s extradition from the UK so he can be questioned about claims by two women that they were sexually assaulted by Assange in Stockholm in August 2010.