WikiLeaks founder says being forced to go to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations would breach his human rights
A two-day hearing has been listed at the high court in London beginning on 12 July, it was announced on Wednesday.
The WikiLeaks founder is appealing against a ruling by Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh magistrates’ court in south London that extradition would not breach his human rights.
The 39-year-old Assange, described the ruling as “rubber stamping” and the result of a “European arrest warrant system run amok”.
He denies the allegations against him and believes they were politically motivated, particularly after WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked American diplomatic cables that rocked the US government.
The Australian national faces three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape in Stockholm in August last year, made by two female WikiLeaks volunteers.
His lawyers accused the Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, of creating a “toxic atmosphere” in Sweden and damaging his chances of a fair trial by portraying him as “public enemy No 1”.
At a hearing in February, Riddle dismissed all of Assange’s arguments that he could not get a fair trial and rejected his claim that extradition to Sweden would violate his human rights.
Assange has said he fears extradition to Sweden could be a stepping stone to him being sent to the US to stand trial on fresh charges relating to WikiLeaks, and that he could even face the death penalty.
About a dozen supporters demonstrated outside the Belmarsh courthouse wearing masks, costumes and Guantánamo Bay-style orange boiler suits.
If his appeal is unsuccessful, Assange could take his case to the supreme court, the UK’s highest court.