By Dinouk Colombage
Julian Assange, founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has lost his case against extradition. He will now be extradited to Sweden in ten days time, he has seven days to appeal this verdict.
District Judge Howard Riddle of the Belmarsh Magistrates’ court in south London ruled that the extradition of Assange would not violate his human rights. Julian Assange was accused of sexual assault by two women in Sweden during a business trip back in August 2010.
Despite the defense claiming that the allegations of sexual abuse were fabricated, Judge Riddle ruled in favour of the prosecution. He dismissed the argument that Julian Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. Assange’s lawyers argued that due to comments made by Sweden’s prime minister he was now ‘public enemy number one’. However, Judge Riddle stated that despite the insistence on the part of the defense he did not believe that ‘this was the purpose of the comment or the effect.’ Julian Assange’s lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, argued that rape trials in Sweden are often ‘tried in secret behind closed doors in a flagrant denial of justice.’ The prosecution responded that while the evidence for the trial would be heard in private, the arguments will be made public.
Robertson had earlier insisted that following his extradition to Sweden, Assange would be extradited to the US on separate charges relating to Wikileaks. The defense have made public their fears that if this was to happen he could face a possible death sentence. The prosecution, in response, stated that ‘Sweden provided protection from that sort of threat and violation’. They further added that the European Court of Human Rights would intervene if Assange was to face the prospect of an unfair trial in the US. The prosecution did not deny the allegations that he could be extradited to the United States.