WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange|
Assange wins latest round in extradition fight
December 4, 2011
London - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal against extradition to Sweden on sex allegations, the British High Court announced Monday.
Assange said he was "thankful" for the decision.
"The High Court has decided that an issue that arises from my own case is of general public importance and may be of assistance" in other cases, he said in brief remarks after the ruling.
The case now moves to the Supreme Court, and Assange's lawyers have vowed to take the fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
Assange, who has been under house arrest for almost a year, on November 2 lost a court battle to stay in Britain. Appeals court judges Lord Justice John Thomas and Justice Duncan Ouseley rejected all four of the arguments Assange's defense team used to fight the extradition at that time.
Two women in Sweden accused Assange in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them.
Although he has not been charged with a crime, Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with the allegations.
Swedish authorities allege that one unnamed woman agreed to have sex with him only if he wore a condom, and that he then had unprotected sex with her while she was asleep.
Assange denies wrongdoing and says the case is politically motivated.
"I have not been charged with any crime in any country," Assange said outside the High Court in London after losing an earlier round of the extradition battle there. "Despite this, the European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of a case, as judges have made clear here today."
The extradition case is not linked to Assange's work as founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, which has put him on the wrong side of U.S. authorities.
His organization, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables in the past year, causing embarrassment to the government and others.
It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the organization has come under increasing financial pressure in recent months, leading Assange to announce in October that WikiLeaks was temporarily stopping publication to "aggressively fundraise" in order to stay afloat.