Video: UK Supreme Court backs Assange extradition30/05/2012 11:27
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his marathon court battle in UK Supreme Court. The judge has granted him 14 days to make an application to reopen the extradition case.
Assange was not present in court to hear the ruling as he was reportedly stuck in London traffic.
The judge ruled that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against Assange for his extradition to Sweden was legal under the Vienna Convention.
“The request for Mr. Assange’s extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against the extradition is accordingly dismissed,” said Supreme Court President Nicholas Phillips.
Assange’s legal team asked for a 14-day extension to reopen the case on the basis that they thought the ruling would be made under the UK legal system and were not adequately prepared.
Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stand with their placards and banners outside the Supreme Court in central London (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)
Defense lawyer Dinah Rose stood up after the ruling to highlight the fact that the judgment was made based on legal precedents not argued in the appeal.
“It would appear that a majority of the members of this court have decided the point on the basis of the interpretation of the Vienna Convention. A point that was not argued in the appeal and which we have had no opportunity to address,” said Dinah Rose.
Under UK law an EAW can only be issued by a judge and therefore Assange’s lawyers had argued the extradition order against him was invalid as it was made by a Swedish prosecutor.
The judges ruled that under the Vienna Convention the prosecutor was a “judicial authority.”
As a result the whistleblower may be sent to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexual assault and rape by two former WikiLeaks volunteers.
Assange says the allegations are baseless and are founded on political motivations after his website released thousands of diplomatic cables and documents sparking outcry from world governments.
There are fears that Assange will eventually be transferred to the US, where he would join Private Bradley Manning, who is currently facing court-martial for handing over classified documents to the whistleblower’s website.
Since the previous hearing in the high court in February, Julian Assange has launched his own talk show on RT. The extradition decision will not disrupt “The World Tomorrow” series, where each episode features a prominent guest speaking with Assange on topics considered highly provocative by the mainstream Western media.