4 minutes ago
May 30, 2012
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses court bid against extradition.
The 40-year-old Australian was not in court to hear the decision handed down by the seven justices in London today.
Lawyers for the Queenslander have argued that his extradition to Sweden would lead to him being taken to the US, where authorities are investigating the operations of his website which has published hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents.
Swedish prosecutors have sought Assange's extradition from Britain so he can be questioned about claims by two women that they were sexually assaulted by Assange in Stockholm in August 2010.
In handing down the judgment, President of the Supreme Court, Justice Lord Phillips, said the judicial panel of seven had been split 5-2 in its decision.
Assange had argued that the Swedish Public Prosecutor was not a judicial authority and therefore did not have the power to request his extradition.
"The majority has concluded that the Swedish Public Prosecutor was a judicial authority ... it follows that the request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is dismissed,'' Lord Phillips said.
Lawyers for Assange were granted 14 days to consider the judgment and submit further applications to the court.
Assange has previously indicated that if unsuccessful in his latest appeal against extradition, he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Lawyers say such a move is unlikely to stop his extradition for long.
Assange is accused of raping one woman by having sex with her while she was asleep, and sexually assaulting a second woman, but he insists the sex was consensual and says the charges are politically motivated.
WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published about 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others.
It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan missions.
But the organisation has come under financial pressure, and Assange has had to announce that WikiLeaks will temporarily abandon publication in favour of raising money in order to stay afloat.