The world's best-known secret-spiller is back in court in London today for a two-day hearing appealing his extradition from Britain to Sweden for questioning on rape allegations. Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are arguing that the European arrest warrant that was issued is invalid because it doesn't give "a fair, accurate and proper" description of his alleged offenses. Additionally, they claim the sexual encounters in question were "entirely consensual" and that a mere "questioning" session shouldn't warrant an extradition to Sweden, reports The Wall Street Journal. Assange now has a new legal team, replacing British attorney Mark Stephens with a high-profile human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, Reuters reports. Assange, now on bail, lost his first legal challenge to the extradition in February.
According to Reuters, "Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange about three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape made by two women, both WikiLeaks volunteers, in Sweden last August." Assange, and his supporters, who appeared at the court with a "Free Assange" poster, say the charges against him are politically-motivated by government forces opposed to his leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified government documents. If the British High Court upholds the extradition request, Assange still has options, notes Reuters. "Assange could take his battle to Britain's Supreme Court, the country's highest, though this can only be done on a point of law considered to be of general public interest." The AP notes that while the extradition case continues, Assange is shacking up at mansion in eastern England owned by one of his wealthy supporters.
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- Julian Assange