Julian Assange delays Swedish extradition

Despite the High Court refusing to sanction his appeal, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange does have a chance to appeal the Supreme Court directly giving him at least another 14 days before extradition.

Australian writer and editor in chief of whistle blowing website WikiLeaks, Assange has been avoiding expulsion from the UK for over a year. In Sweden he stands accused of raping one girl and sexually molesting and coercing another. Assange denies these claims, stating that the sex was purely consensual.

When faced with the charges, the WikiLeaks editor handed himself in to the Metropolitan police. However his lawyers haven't been sitting idle, resisting the extradition attempts by stating that European arrest warrants aren't valid when a suspect is only wanted for questioning. They also claim that if deported, due to his political influence, Assange's life would be in danger.

The BBC reports that many people are keen to see how the appeal turns out, as this is a situation that will no doubt be cited in future court cases and appeals. If the Supreme Court rules that European arrest warrants are not valid in instances like this, it'll set precedent, likewise if it's decided that they are. This is what makes this case "a question of general public importance," and is the main reason that the appeal has been granted.

"I think that is the correct decision, and I am thankful," said Assange in a statement after the ruling. "The long struggle for justice for me and others continues."

However, one of the two judges involved in the process, Sir John Thomas, told Mr Assange's legal counsel that the court believed the Swedish prosecutor was "within the scheme," for issuing the warrant. He also stated that the chance for the appeal being successful was incredibly slim.

Assange has claimed throughout the process that the charges against him are politically motivated. If extradited to Sweden, it's thought likely that he would then he sent to the US, where he faces arrest on national security grounds due to the leaked documents he made available on WikiLeaks.