In British court today, Judge Howard Riddle ruled that the allegations of rape and sexual molestation against Julian Assange were extraditable offenses. Assange’s legal team has seven days to appeal the ruling, which would send him to Sweden in ten days unless it is overturned. His lawyers said immediately that they will appeal to the High Court. Assange “sat impassively” as the decision was read. The WikiLeaks founder is currently free on bail, although the judge said he needs to produce two additional suretors (people willing to vouch for him financially) in the next couple of hours. In his full ruling, the judge addressed Assange’s lawyer’s “deliberate attempt to mislead the court” over whether the prosecutor in Sweden attempted to interview Assange before he left the country.
Assange’s legal team had also cited Sweden’s private hearings as one reason why he should not be extradited. The judge noted that although the absence of press or public during rape trials in Sweden is “certainly alien” to the U.K., it does not go against European conventions on human rights. Assange has called Sweden “the Saudi Arabia of feminism.” Considering WikiLeaks’ recent releases on Tunisia and Libya, timed to political events, we expect a leak on Sweden in 3, 2, …
Julian Assange extradition hearing decision - live updates [Guardian UK]
London Court Grants Swedish Request to Extradite Assange [NYT]