Julian Assange loses bid to block extradition to Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his fight to block extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Two judges, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley, handed down the judgment in the UK's High Court at 9.45am on Wednesday.

The decision of the High Court ends a year-long battle by Assange to avoid extradition, after Swedish prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant in connection with allegations of rape and sexual assault made against him by two Swedish women, following a visit made by the 40-year-old to Stockholm in August 2010.

Assange is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the verdict - but can only do so on the grounds that a wider legal issue of "public importance" is at stake.

If leave to appeal is refused, he could be removed to Sweden within 14 days.

Lawyers for the Australian have previously said that his removal would be "unfair and unlawful."