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Wikileaks Chief in vital extradition court fight

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Wikileaks Chief in vital extradition court fight

Post  Panda on Sun 4 Dec - 11:56

WikiLeaks' chief in vital extradition court fight



By JILL LAWLESS and SYLVIA HUI
Associated Press













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LONDON (AP) -- Julian Assange is making what could be a last
throw of the legal dice in his battle to avoid extradition to Sweden
over sex crimes allegations.
On Monday the
WikiLeaks founder will ask judges to let him take his case to Britain's
Supreme Court. If they say no, he could be on a plane to Stockholm
within days.
The 40-year-old Australian behind
the secret-spilling website has spent almost a year on bail in Britain
fighting extradition for questioning over claims of rape and molestation
made by two Swedish women. So far, two courts have ruled against him.
For
his case to be considered by Britain's Supreme Court, Assange's lawyers
must persuade two High Court judges that it raises a question of
"general public importance."
According to a
website devoted to arguing Assange's case, his lawyers will seek to
argue two points - that the European arrest warrant for Assange is
invalid because it was not issued by the correct authority, and that he
should not be extradited because he has not been charged with any crime.
Lower courts have already considered and rejected both arguments.
Assange's
hearing on Monday will come on the same day as a parliamentary debate
on Britain's extradition rules. The House of Commons will debate and
vote on demands to change extradition agreements that require Britain to
transfer individuals to the U.S. and Europe - sometimes on insufficient
evidence, critics say.
Assange declined to
discuss his case, but told The Associated Press he was heartened that
lawmakers are tackling the issue of extraditions.
"What
we ask for is humble - the right to not be shipped off to foreign lands
without formal charges or the presentation of even the most basic
evidence," he told the AP in an email.
A
district judge ruled in February that Assange could be extradited, and
the High Court upheld that decision last month, saying the alleged
offenses amounted to crimes under British law and ruling that the arrest
warrant had been properly issued.
If Assange
is granted a Supreme Court appeal, his stay in Britain - where he lives
under curfew at an affluent supporter's rural mansion - is likely to
last for many more months.
If he is denied,
his legal fight will move to Sweden. Last month Assange replaced his
Swedish lawyer with two high-profile attorneys, Per E. Samuelson and
Thomas Olsson. Samuelson has a long track-record as a defense lawyer in
sex crime cases and has also represented one of the men behind
file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.
The
allegations against Assange stem from a visit to Sweden in August 2010,
shortly after WikiLeaks released secret U.S. files from the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan. Assange became involved with two women, one of whom
later accused him of coercion and molestation. The other alleged that he
had sex with her as she slept.
Swedish prosecutors have not charged Assange with any crime, but have demanded that he return to Scandinavia to face questions.
He
denies wrongdoing and says the sex was consensual. He has insisted the
sex crimes investigation is politically motivated by opponents of his
organization.
Assange has become a global
figure since WikiLeaks began releasing secret government documents,
including hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables from U.S. missions
around the world.
Vilified by U.S. authorities
and other governments angry about their secrets being leaked, he has
been hailed as a free-speech hero by many around the world.
But
his expensive legal troubles - and moves by U.S. financial companies to
block donations to the site - have taken a financial toll on WikiLeaks,
which has been forced to suspend publishing to focus on fundraising.
Assange has said the organization needs $3.5 million to keep it going
into 2013.
Assange also faces potential legal
action in the U.S., where prosecutors are weighing criminal charges, and
where he could be dragged into the case of Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army
analyst suspected of disclosing secret intelligence to WikiLeaks.
Manning
remains in custody at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. A military
court hearing to decide whether he will stand trial is due to begin Dec.
16.
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Re: Wikileaks Chief in vital extradition court fight

Post  Panda on Mon 5 Dec - 19:18

Assange wins latest round in extradition fight



By the CNN Wire Staff
December 5, 2011 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
















Assange wins latest extradition battle








STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Assange's application to have his case heard by the Supreme Court is approved
  • He says he is grateful for the decision
  • Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims
  • The WikiLeaks founder denies wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated





London (CNN) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
will be allowed to appeal against extradition to Sweden on sex
allegations, the British High Court announced Monday.

Assange said he was "thankful" for the decision.

"The High Court has decided that an issue that arises from my own
case is of general public importance and may be of assistance" in other
cases, he said in brief remarks after the ruling.

The case now moves to the Supreme Court, and Assange's lawyers have
vowed to take the fight all the way to the European Court of Human
Rights.

Assange, who has been under house arrest for almost a year, on
November 2 lost a court battle to stay in Britain. Appeals court judges
Lord Justice John Thomas and Justice Duncan Ouseley rejected all four of
the arguments Assange's defense team used to fight the extradition at
that time.




101: WikiLeaks revealed





Occupy Wall Street in London





WikiLeaks founder speaks at Occupy London


Two women in Sweden accused Assange in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them.

Although he has not been charged with a crime, Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with the allegations.

Swedish authorities allege that one unnamed woman agreed to have sex
with him only if he wore a condom, and that he then had unprotected sex
with her while she was asleep.

Assange denies wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated.

"I have not been charged with any crime in any country," Assange said
outside the High Court in London after losing an earlier round of the
extradition battle there. "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 extradition case is not linked to Assange's work as founder and
editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, which has put him on the wrong side of
U.S. authorities.

His organization, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret
information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic
cables in the past year, causing embarrassment to the government and
others.

It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the organization has come under increasing financial pressure in
recent months, leading Assange to announce in October that WikiLeaks was
temporarily stopping publication to "aggressively fundraise" in order
to stay afloat.

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