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Assange can be sent to Sweden, rules UK court

india Updated: Nov 03, 2011 01:06 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar
Dipankar De Sarkar
Hindustan Times
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday lost a bitter battle to block his extradition to Sweden to face accusation of sex crimes.

The 40-year-old Australian, who has angered governments around the world by leaking secret documents, sat impassively, dressed in a blue suit, as the two London high court judges upheld a lower court ruling allowing him to be extradited to Sweden.

He has been accused of rape and sexual assault by two women. Assange has described the sexual encounters he had in August 2010 as consensual. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/031111/03-11-11-metro1b.jpg

The ruling brings him closer to extradition to the US and torture, his mother told the Australian Associated Press.

"If (the Australian people) don't stand up for Julian, he will go to the US and he will be tortured," Christine Assange said.

He, too, lashed out at the Europe-wide system under which Sweden sought his arrest.

"I have not been charged with any crime in any country," Assange said.

"Despite this, the European Arrest Warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of a case, as judges have made clear here today…"

The former hacker now has two weeks to consider whether to make a final appeal to the supreme court.

However, any recourse to Britain's highest judicial body can only be made on a point of law considered by judges to be of general public interest, so permission to appeal must be obtained from the high court.

"We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead," he said.

The drama over his extradition has gripped the world for months, which coincided with the publication of thousands of classified US documents on WikiLeaks.

Eversince he gave himself up to a British court last December, Assange has been virtually under house arrest in the country mansion of a wealthy friend. He has to wear an electronic tag, present himself at the local police station every day and be back home by 10pm.

With agency inputs

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