Julian Assange

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Assange fights extradition ruling

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has begun his appeal against extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

The 40-year-old Australian appeared at the High Court in London seeking to overturn a lower court's rejection in February of defence arguments that he would have an unfair trial in Sweden.

He is accused of molestation, and what Sweden describes as "minor rape".

Mr Assange's lawyers have criticised Sweden's bid to extradite him over rape allegations as legally flawed.

Lawyer Ben Emmerson has described the extradition bid as somewhat of a fishing expedition - Sweden's grab at a chance to question Mr Assange - and not for the purpose of prosecution.

He said the conduct described in the European arrest warrant issued by Sweden "fails to provide a fair, proper and accurate description of what is alleged against the appellant".

After the ruling against him in February, Mr Assange blasted the decision as "a result of the European Arrest Warrant system run amok".

Mr Emmerson also argued that Mr Assange was a victim of a "philosophical and judicial mismatch" between English and Swedish law, saying some of the allegations levelled against him would not amount to sex crimes in Britain.

Swedish authorities want to question Mr Assange over the sex assault claims made by two women - allegations he denies - although he has not been formally charged.

He has claimed the allegations are politically motivated and linked to his whistleblower website's releases of huge caches of leaked US government documents, which have infuriated Washington.

Source: ABC News

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