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‘Assange can pursue extradition fight in Britain’

world Updated: Dec 05, 2011 23:38 IST

AFP
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was on Monday granted permission to apply to England’s highest court in a final attempt to block his extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

Two high court judges ruled that the case raised a question “of general public importance” which should be decided by the Supreme Court “as quickly as possible”.

Although the judges refused Assange permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, they ruled that it should have the last word, clearing the way for his lawyers to apply directly to the higher court.

However, he still has no automatic right to be heard by the Supreme Court.Assange, the 40-year-old founder of the whistleblowing website that has infuriated Washington by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified US documents, was in court to hear the judges’ ruling.

Asked if he was happy with the decision, he replied simply: “Yes.” Assange’s lawyer Gareth Peirce said his legal team had 14 days to submit a written petition to the Supreme Court. Peirce confirmed that if the court refuses to hear the request.

Assange was arrested in London a year ago and is nowng under stringent bail conditions. Two women in Sweden made allegations that of rape and molestation dating back to August 2010.

Assange claims the allegations are politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified US files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.