WikiLeaks' Assange can take his extradition appeal to UK Supreme Court

The High Court will let Julian Assange petition the Supreme Court directly, although that court could refuse to hear the case

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can take his case to the U.K.'s Supreme Court in his continuing fight against extradition to Sweden.

The Supreme Court is Assange's last hope for avoiding extradition. In a hearing Monday, the High Court refused Assange leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, but granted his case a "certificate of general public importance," which allows him to apply directly to the Supreme Court, a spokesman for the judiciary of England and Wales said on Monday. The Supreme Court could still refuse to hear the case.

Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish prosecutors over accusations of rape and molestation by two Swedish women, although he maintains the encounters in August 2010 were consensual.

He has lost two appeals against the extradition so far. Early last month, a two-judge High Court panel found the European Arrest Warrant issued last year seeking custody of Assange was proportionate and valid for the offenses alleged against him, which are criminal in Sweden and the U.K.

Assange's legal team argued that he has not been charged by Swedish prosecutors.

During the first appeal in February, District Judge Howard Riddle rejected arguments that Assange would not get a fair trial in Sweden due to the country's custom of excluding press and the public from sexual assault trials.

Assange and other WikiLeaks supporters held a press conference on Thursday in London where they released 287 documents related to companies that develop surveillance products, which he argued pose a continuing threat to people's privacy. The WikiLeaks website has not accepted online submissions since last year due to security concerns.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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