Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle blowing website Wikileaks, has lost his high court appeal against extradition to Sweden on a European arrest warrant. In Sweden he faces allegations of rape made by two Swedish women who claim he raped them during a visit to Stockholm in August 2010.
Assange, who was wearing a navy blue suit and tie with a Remembrance Day poppy, made no emotional reaction as Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley handed down their judgement. The justices dismissed defence claims that the warrant was invalid and the offences trumped up and inaccurate, instead ruling that Assange should face proceedings in Sweden.
Assange remains free on bail pending a decision on whether to appeal further. His lawyers say they will take a fortnight to decide whether they wish to seek the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. They also said they would challenge the £19,000 costs against him, which indicates he may not have the money to pay.
In order to be allowed to appeal, Assange must convince judges that there is a larger issue of public importance in the latest judgement. If he is able to do so, chances are there would not be a new trial until sometime next year, during which time Assange would remain free on bail. If he loses his quest for a right to appeal, then British law enforcement would have to arrange his extradition to Sweden within 10 days in line with the European arrest warrant procedure.
Speaking on the steps of the courthouse after the decision, Assange urged people to visit a website, swedenversusassange.com, that was set up in his defence. He said that many of his detractors would try to spin the decision as proof of his guilt, rather than the technical proceeding it was. Supporters of Assange who stood outside the courthouse were outraged by the decision.