WikiLeaks' Assange Loses Extradition Battle, Legal Wrangling May Continue
Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lost his extradition battle--a decision which would, send him to Sweden to face sexual assault charges--in a British court today, but don't expect the legal saga to be over any time soon.
Despite losing by a majority of five to two, his lawyers have been given 14 days to consider whether to challenge a central point of the judgment on the correct interpretation of international treaties.
The highly unusual legal development came after the supreme court justices decided that a public prosecutor was a "judicial authority" and that therefore Assange's arrest warrant had been lawfully issued.
Apparently, there's a second legal tack at work, too:
His lawyers may also, concurrently, begin the process of appealing against the judgment to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.
The issues at stake in this case are complicated, both legally and morally. Certainly, one can believe that Assange should stand trial for the rape charges while also believing these charges--and the international systems of laws and extradition--are being leveraged against him because of his activity with WikiLeaks.
The Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman, London MEP Sarah Ludford, said: "I fully support reform of the European arrest warrant to stop misuse for minor cases or for the investigation stage and to stop people being whisked off to a foreign jail long before a trial is genuinely imminent."
It's also important to note that Bradley Manning, the alleged leaker of some of WikiLeaks' most explosive material, sits in a military prison--and his lawyers believe the government is withholding evident. Read more about his case here.