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UK: Julian Assange loses Swedish extradition appeal

Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, Britain's highest court ruled Wednesday.

julian assange wikileaks 2012 5 29Enlarge
In a file photo taken on February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks during a press conference in central London. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, Britain's highest court ruled Wednesday.

"The request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly is dismissed," Supreme Court president Judge Nicholas Phillips said, Agence France-Presse reported.

Assange did not appear in court on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post

The decision opens the prospect of his being handed over to the US for prosecution over the leaking of classified documents.

Assange faces charges under the Espionage Act after the anti-secrecy website he founded revealed US state secrets in the form of Afghanistan and Iraq military reports and diplomatic cables.

In a tweet Tuesday, WikiLeaks connected Wednesday's judgment with the arrival in Sweden of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Sweden.

"Hiliary Clinton and State Dept team arrive Stockhom June 3-4; 4 days after Assange extradition decision. Fanciful to think no discussion," the tweet read, misspelling both the first name of the cabinet official and of the Swedish capital.

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Assange — although he has insisted that the sex at issue in Sweden was consensual — had relied on the argument that the European arrest warrant issued against him by the Swedish prosecutor was invalid because it was not made by a judge.

Only a “competent judicial authority” can issue a European arrest warrant, his team had argued.

However, the 5-2 majority ruling of the Supreme Court was that the Swedish prosecutor was a judicial authority and therefore allowed to issue an arrest warrant for Assange.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Assange normally would now have 14 days to appeal successfully to the European Court of Human Rights.

However, the Australian activist's attorneys said he would first pursue an objection over a legal point with the UK Supreme Court.

Assange's attorney Dinah Rose said an application would be made to reopen the case at the Supreme Court on the basis that the court's majority decision was made on legal points not argued during the appeal.

The judge agreed to the request and granted Assange's legal team 14 days in which it can apply to reopen the case.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120530/julian-assange-extradition-sweden-sex-crimes-us-espionage