Julian Assange, the founder of secret-revealing website WikiLeaks, has lost his appeal to stop his extradition from the UK to Sweden over rape allegations.
Last year, the Australian internet activist was accused of molestation of one woman and the rape of another in Stockholm. He denied the charges and has since been fighting to remain in the UK, claiming it unfair and unlawful to extradite him.
Now his legal team have said they will decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court within the next 14 days. Currently, Mr Assange is on bail, staying at a supporter’s country estate.
His lawyers are also planning to challenge the £19,000 court costs he has been charged, as they indicated he may not have the funds to pay.
Just last week Mr Assange said Wikileaks may have to close down due to a financial “blockade” by credit card firms. The site suspended publishing operations and is concentrating on raising funds.
At the High Court, Mr Assange’s lawyers claimed that extradition was disproportionate to the crime, to which the High Court judges replied, “this is self evidently not a case relating to a trivial offense, but to serious sexual offenses.”
Mr Assange’s legal team also tried to assert that the women’s allegations were inconsistent as their story changed over time.
The High Court judges ruled: “These are matters of evidence which would be highly relevant at trial. It is not for this court to assess whether the allegations may fail.”
Extradition law experts are not hopeful of a successful outcome for Mr Assange. Karen Todner, a British extradition lawyer, said that if Mr Assange appeals to the Supreme Court but is rejected, “then that’s it”.
She also claimed that an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights would also be likely to fail.
Should Mr Assange be denied an appeal to the Supreme Court, he will be extradited to Sweden within 10 days.
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