UK - Report

Assange must wait for UK-Sweden extradition ruling

Reuters/Andrew Winning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have to wait to find out if he's being extradited to Sweden. The Australian-born Assange's two-day appeal was heard by the UK's Supreme Court. But the justices won't give their verdict for several weeks, leaving Assange's fate in the balance.


"I don't accept that the process of issuing an arrest or asking for someone to be extradited has ever required the intervention of a court," said lawyer Clare Montgomery, acting for Sweden, which is behind the extradition request.

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She spent the second and final day of the proceedings going through the history of European extraditions.

It was dense and difficult stuff.

"I think it's a landmark trial in terms of protection of free speech and also in terms of abuse of the European arrest warrant and I think it's really important for people to come out and show their support," said Elizabeth Sander, who came to watch the proceedings.

With almost 30 countries, all of whom have similar yet slightly varying legal systems, the European Union still hasn't settled the question of how to arrest someone in one country and send him to another to face charges of a crime.

Despite thousands of years of common history dating from Roman times and dozens of different treaties signed, the reality is that each case has to be considered on its own merit.

Assange's lawyers argued on the first day that Sweden's prosecutor doesn't have the authority to request his extradition. They claim that only a judge can do so.

If the judges agree, Assange could be a free man for the first time in over a year. If not, he expects to be put in jail immediately upon arriving in Sweden to face trial.

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