Britain's High Court ruled today that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be allowed to request a final appeal to Britain's Supreme Court against his extradition to Sweden, where he faces rape allegations. Monday's decision gives Assange's lawyers two more weeks to draw up a written submission to the country's top court, "which usually hears only cases of constitutional or general public importance." The Supreme Court will then decide if the appeal can continue. It's all based on a legal technicality — whether or not the Swedish public prosecutor counts as a judicial authority — but will likely keep Assange in Britain, where he's been under house arrest for a year, until 2012.
Assange's lawyers are arguing that the public prosecutor does not count as a judicial authority and therefore cannot sign an arrest warrant. "If leave is granted by the Supreme Court, we would for obvious reasons ask that the point is decided as quickly as possible," said a High Court official today. As for Assange, he's made himself a sort of martyr figure for anyone fighting extradition, as WikiLeaks urges supporters to contact officials in parliament and speak out against "extradition abuses." On the courthouse steps today, the semi-selfless Assange said, "It has been a long struggle for justice for me and others."