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Assange Loses Extradition Appeal: Has Wikileaks Lost Its Way?

Assange Loses Extradition Appeal: Has Wikileaks Lost Its Way?
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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape made by two women against him last year. With the straightforward sentence “The court dismissed the appeal,” two judges at a London High Court said that a previous ruling must be upheld and objected to all four of the arguments Assange’s defense team had raised.

Assange’s lawyers said they will now take 14 days to decide whether to seek a certificate of law of general public importance. Should the court say no, Assange will be on a plane to Sweden within 10 days. Should he be granted the certificate, his lawyers can seek to appeal to the Supreme Court, with a hearing likely in January; if he loses this appeal, Assange would then be extradited to Sweden within 10 days. If he is successful in his appeal, a hearing would occur around May of next year.

Assange’s legal battle has been going on for eleven months. The alleged assaults occurred in August of 2010, when Assange was in Stockholm for an event with Wikileaks supporters. While Assange appeared for an initial interview with Swedish police in 2010, he then fled to London before questioning was completed. Sweden issued an Interpol red notice and a European arrest warrant and required his return; Swedish prosecutors said that Assange was”detained in his absence on probable cause suspected of rape (less severe crime), sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.”

Assange, who has denied the allegations and claims that they are politically motivated, has since been fighting the extradition order. He has termed Sweden the “Saudi Arabia of feminism” and compared himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. and further stated his fear that, should be extradited to Sweden, he could then face the possibility of extradition to the US:

He has told friends that he refused to return to Stockholm to face questioning because he fears that the country is run by a small cabal of interconnected people who are aligned against him. He believes that he is on trial, he has said, for an alleged affront to all Swedish women, and that court proceedings will be tainted by that wider anger.

Mr. Assange’s lawyers have also argued that if he were extradited from Sweden to the United States, he could face the death penalty over the leaking of classified American documents, citing comments by Sarah Palin and other conservative politicians earlier this year.

Crowds of supporters carrying signs saying “Free Assange! Free Manning! End the wars!” greeted Assange at the London court. Ciaron O’Reilly offered definitive support, proclaiming Assange to be “probably the most amazing person in recent history who’s upset so many powerful people in such a short space of time so it’s obviously not a level playing field.”

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21 comments

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3:18AM PST on Nov 16, 2011

Sweden should leave him alone. Swedish women are more than capable of taking care of themselves. It's inconceivable he could have raped a female Swede. It does seem to be politically motivated. It would be horribly dirty of them to further extradite him to the US.

9:46PM PST on Nov 9, 2011

Weird case. But technicalities aside, why would anyone want to defend a self-proclaimed act of massive vandalism? What he did was destructive to national security and hurtful to our women and men in the field not only in the line of fire, but in diplomatic and foreign assistance posts worldwide including the Peace Corps, USAID and Care. It caused a lot of stress among our allies and friends around the world. I totally believe in freedom of speech but this was yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Documents of ongoing operations and negotiations are classified for many good reasons including human life. That's why divulging them is illegal in every modern democracy.

Assange like most anarchists rightly criticizes the established order but, has very little in the way of concrete suggestions on how to improve it. When it comes to actual policy proposals our government could implement that would make the world a better place, he draws an almost complete blank. In that he is very much like Al-Qaeda: They and he criticize the West a lot but haven't got a clue what they would do if they were in power. That is the profound moral flaw of most anarchists: they eschew all public responsibility by advocating the wholesale destruction of the social order, without constructing anything reasonable to replace it. Good riddance to Wikileaks.

6:01PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

sweden is acting on behalf of the american government no doubt

11:16PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

What about Paypal, Visa and Mastercard? I suppose they are all US companies. I wonder if, under international law, they are allowed to stop people supporting WikiLeaks? These trials cost the earth. Why did he leave Sweden? My understanding is that the police had no charges to lay and he was free to leave - he did not run away!!! Why would he want to go to Sweden when the trial will be behind closed doors? If, when, he is finally sent to the US it will be goodbye Julian - remember Guantanamo!

10:45PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

This is why the Occupy movement can't put forth an individual leader. I hope that the Wikileaks idea can survive without him.

6:22PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Anyone who has ever dared to stand up for our rights and freedoms has either had trumped up charges made against them, been vilified, asassinated or crucified. This is not new.

3:38PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

When Facebook stop publishing my WikiLeaks posts so that I close down my Social Justice page - it's obvious that even they have been 'got at'!

12:46PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Why believe Assange and not Cain? Do we judge based on politics or fact?

11:51AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

I agree... it a set-up.

9:42AM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

total set up.

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