Julian Assange Appears Before High Court On Extradition Case
Julian Assange, founder and chief editor of the famous website WikiLeaks, which published classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the diplomatic cables of the American embassies, is to appear in court on Tuesday to start an appeal against a ruling that allows his extradition to Sweden, where he is to face accusations of rape.
Assange takes his case to the High Court in London in hopes of reversing the ruling passed in February, when the judge denied his defense’s argumentation that he could have an unfair trial in Sweden.
The hearing will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday but the verdict is expected to be passed at a later date.
If the ruling is against him, Assange announced his willingness to prepare for a long struggle and to go to the Supreme Court.
Since December, Julian Assange has been living at some friends’ mansion in eastern England under strict bail condition, with an electronic tracking devise on his ankle, and curfew.
Assange’s previous hearings have been attended by scores of journalists and human rights activists.
He made an interesting move before this hearing by appointing as lawyer Gareth Peirce, known in England for representing notorious clients such as Muslim terror suspects, and even a Guantanamo Bay inmate.
Assange was detain last December, when he practically turned himself in to answer the accusations formulated against him by two women in Sweden, who accuse him of sexual assault.
He fought the extradition procedure by alleging that if he goes to Sweden he could be extradite further, to the United States, where attempts are made to build a case against him for violating national security by publishing the diplomatic cables and the files on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange fears that once in the United States he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay or be sentenced to death. He had to run from the United States after publishing the diplomatic cables that embarrassed the American diplomacy and drew a lot of criticism of the security protocols that allow such leaks.
Assange had to leave, his accounts were closed, his servers were under attack, and finally the Swedish case was the one to practically “take him offline,” as a high-ranked American official said, when he advised that until a case against Assange could be built on American soil it was a good thing he was not in front of a computer.11