Assange to learn fate over rape and assault allegations

 

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The Independent Online

Julian Assange will find out tomorrow whether he is to face extradition to Sweden over rape allegations when the High Court hands down its judgment.

Mr Assange, who described his 10 months under house arrest without charge as "perverse", could walk free if Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley find in his favour. If the warrant is upheld, he could be extradited to Sweden inside 14 days.

But the head of the whistleblowing website may remain in Britain into next year. Because of the perceived public importance of the case, lawyers from the losing side could seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Australian, 40, could be detained in the UK under relaxed bail conditions until next year, when the highest court in the land would hear the appeal.

The WikiLeaks founder is challenging a European extradition warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors and has been living under strict bail conditions in Norfolk, since his arrest in London last December.

The warrant, issued after rape and sexual assault accusations made by two Swedish women after his visit to Stockholm in August 2010, was upheld by a judge in February.

Last week, Mr Assange announced that WikiLeaks had been forced to suspend publishing classified files after a funding blockade and could have no option but to shut down by the end of the year.

Mr Assange denies allegations of raping one woman and sexually molesting and coercing another.