Julian Assange Loses Extradition Case with British Supreme Court
Wikileaks Spokesman Julian Assange Can be Extradited to Sweden, Rules Supreme Court
The British Supreme Court has ruled that Wikileaks founder and spokesman Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden.
The 5-2 decision has nothing to do with Julian Assange's guilt or innocence: Assange has not been charged with any crime. The Court only ruled that a prosecutor (as opposed to a judge) can order an extradition.
The case against Julian Assange is highly problematic: were he not the founder of Wikileaks (and squarely in the US Government's crosshairs over Collateral Murder and Cablegate, and continues to harass other Wikileaks activists), this very likely would not be happening. Indeed, it never has in the past. In the UK, only a judge can approve extradition orders. In Sweden, however, prosecutors can do so.
Public attention cornered the High Court into taking the case, and it was hard to see any other outcome: had the Court ruled in favor of Assange, extradition laws throughout Europe (where it's more common for prosecutors to call for extradition) would have to be rewritten.
Had Assange won in Britain, surely the Swedish prosecutor could get a judge to issue the extradition warrant anyway. Sweden, under pressure from other countries, really wants to get hold of Julian Assange.
Assange's QC, Dinah Rose, argued that the European arrest warrant's use of the term "judicial authorities" was meant to mean a judge or magistrate, and not a prosecutor, who is not independent. For Sweden, Clare Montgomery QC argued that the term "judicial authorities" was always meant to encompass prosecutors in some EU countries, and there was no requirement for the figure issuing the warrant to be independent.
Julian Assange's legal team could now take their case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR); they have 14 days to do so. Assange cannot be extradited while his case is being heard at the ECHR. However, Assange has indicated in the past that he would not be likely to follow the ECHR route.