Supreme Court: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his last ditch Supreme Court battle to block extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The central issue of the legal case was whether the public prosecutor in Sweden that issued the European arrest warrant (EAW) amounted to a legitimate judicial authority.

Five judges ruled in favour of granting the request, with only two dissenting, and Mr Assange now has two weeks to apply for the case to be reopened.

The court granted a request from his solicitor, Dinah Rose QC, to stay the extradition for 14 days while a final appeal is considered.

Delivering the verdict, Lord Phillips, the president of the Supreme Court, announced that the public prosecutor in the Scandinavian state had the appropriate power to issue the EAW.

"The Swedish public prosecutor is a judicial authority. The request for Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal has been dismissed," Phillips said in making the ruling.

The Australian Internet activist is a prominent but controversial figure in the technology world due to his high-profile role in releasing classified documents on the Internet and he enjoys support from a number of hacktivist groups, including Anonymous.

WikiLeaks' revelations have included the Collateral Murder video, Afghan War Diary, and the recent 'Cablegate' series of diplomatic cables and have caused embarrassment to a number of high-ranking governments and their officials, particularly the United States.

The allegations of sex crimes relate to incidents are supposed to have occurred in Stockholm in 2010 - Mr Assange claims any encounters were consensual.