BREAKING: UK court rules WikiLeaks’ Assange should be extradited

By Reuters
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 7:08 EDT
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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: AFP.
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LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange should be extradited from Britain to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sex crimes, London’s High Court ruled on Wednesday, rejecting his appeal against the move.

Swedish authorities want to question the 40-year-old over accusations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers.

Assange’s lawyer said he was considering an appeal. He has two weeks in which to do so.

However, any appeal to Britain’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court, must be made on a point of law considered to be of general public interest.

Assange’s whistle-blowing website caused a stir last year by publishing more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

A British judge first approved the Swedish request for the computer expert’s extradition in February.

His lawyers have argued the Swedish demand is legally flawed and that the sex was consensual. Assange, who is free under strict bail conditions, has also accused the United States of putting pressure on Britain, Sweden and the media.

Last month, Assange, an Australian citizen, said WikiLeaks would stop publishing secret cables and devote itself instead to fund-raising because of a financial block on payments to the site by U.S. firms such as Visa and MasterCard.

He said if the block was not ended by the turn of the year, WikiLeaks would not be able to continue.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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