The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 6 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Assange granted extradition appeal

London, Dec. 5: The High Court gave permission today for Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy organisation, to launch a final appeal to Britain’s highest judicial authority against extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual abuse.

In a complicated ruling, two judges rejected most of the grounds on which Assange, 40, had sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. But they said his lawyers could appeal on a single legal technicality relating to the status of the Swedish public prosecutor seeking his extradition.

If the judges had ruled against Assange, he could have been be sent to Sweden for questioning within days.

Last month, two High Court judges upheld an earlier ruling in favour of extradition, rejecting his lawyers’ claims that sending him to Sweden would be “unfair and unlawful”. In response, Assange said he would seek permission to make a final appeal to the Supreme Court, which usually hears only cases of constitutional or general public importance.

In the latest hearing, the same two judges, Sir John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley, said they had certified that a point of law in the case had a broader public interest, enabling the appeal to go ahead. The question to be considered by the Supreme Court was whether the Swedish public prosecutor qualified as a judicial authority.

Assange’s lawyers maintain that public prosecutors are not judicial authorities and are, therefore, not entitled to sign arrest warrants.

Court officials said the judges’ ruling today meant that Assange’s legal team had 14 days to set out grounds for an appeal in a written submission to the Supreme Court. It would then be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to allow an appeal.

Speaking on the courthouse steps after the ruling, Assange said he was thankful the court agreed that his case had broader implications. Referring to his case and those of others fighting extradition, he said: “It has been a long struggle for justice for me.”