U.K. Supreme Court Rules Wikileaks Founder May be Extradited to Sweden
Though Julian Assange has made a name for himself as the founder of Wikileaks and spewing government secrets across this great wide Internet, the computer programmer has been under house arrest since 2010. Facing charges of sexual assault, Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden for the past two years. Now, the U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that Assange’s arrest warrant is legitimate. However, this fight appears far from over.
Assange has been in various amounts of legal trouble for years, but this specific incidence is centered around the complaints of two women who say Assange raped and sexually molested them. A warrant for Assange’s arrest was issued in 2010, and he has remained on bail and under house arrest since then. For his part, Assange claims that the sex was consensual and that the charges against him are politically motivated.
Since 2010, Assange has been appealing the extradition. The issue brought before the U.K. Supreme Court in February of this year was whether or not the Swedish prosecutor who issued Assange’s arrest warrant had the judicial authority to do so in accordance with the U.K.’s 2003 Extradition Act. The Court’s five-to-two decision indicates that the warrant is legally sound.
However, the fight is far from over as the court has granted Assange and his lawyers two weeks to apply to re-open the case. According to the BBC, Assange’s lawyer, Dinah Rose, believes that there are points left to argue in the case. Apparently, Rose believes that the Supreme Court decision is based off their interpretation of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Because that point was not discussed in Assange’s initial appeal to the Supreme Court, Rose could apply for another hearing focused on those issues. However, it is up to to the Court to decide whether or not to hear those arguments.
For the time being, Assange’s extradition cannot be enforced until June 13 at the earliest. This would be moved even later, assuming further legal action. However, the Wikileaks founder seems to be having less and less time at his disposal.