Assange’s ‘final’ extradition fate could take a year to be decided

February 24th, 2011 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 24(ANI): Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, is expected to lose his battle against extradition to Sweden today.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Magistrates Court will grant the European arrest warrant forcing Assange to face accusations of sex crimes in Stockholm.

However, it could take nine months to a year before a final verdict, as both sides have already signalled their intention to appeal against today’s decision should it go against them, by taking the extradition request to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

The court was asked to examine whether the European arrest warrant was issued correctly and whether it would be an abuse of justice to send the 39-year-old to Sweden for questioning.

Swedish prosecutors say that Assange must return to Stockholm to face accusations by two women who say that he sexually abused them last August.

Under Sweden’s strict sexual-crimes laws, he is accused of two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of rape.

His accusers, both WikiLeaks volunteers, have said that their sexual encounters with Assange started out as consensual, but turned nonconsensual.

The case has been fought against the backdrop of the group’s highest-profile operation yet - the release of a quarter of a million confidential American diplomatic cables. (ANI)

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