Monday, December 5, 2011

Julian Assange Wins Right to Petition UK Supreme Court

From the Los Angeles Times:
Judges on Britain's High Court say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could apply directly to the Supreme Court to hear his extradition case.

Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, is free to ask Britain's highest court to decide whether he should be extradited to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault, judges ruled Monday.

Assange denies any misconduct and insists his relations with the women in separate encounters in August 2010 were consensual. He contends that the allegations against him are politically motivated, a pretext to ship him onward for prosecution in the U.S., where the Obama administration has roundly condemned him for leaking thousands of diplomatic documents on his website.
From the Washington Post:

Speaking to journalists outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, Assange said: “I think that is the correct decision and I am thankful. The long struggle for justice for me and for others continues.”

While rejecting one of Assange’s main arguments for appeal, the High Court judges said he could appeal to the Supreme Court on whether the European arrest warrant under which he was detained a year ago is flawed because it was signed by a public prosecutor. His attorneys argue that this is not a “judicial authority,” as required by law.

But Judge John Thomas told the courtroom on Monday that the likelihood of Assange successfully applying for an appeal “may be extraordinarily slim.”

If the Supreme Court rejects his case, he could still apply to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. However, extradition experts said that would not prevent Britain from sending him to Sweden.

Here's author John Pilger's assessment of this development:

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