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Assange 'thankful' for court ruling

A "thankful" Julian Assange has won a last chance in the UK to seek to block his extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex crime allegations.

Two High Court judges certified the WikiLeaks founder had raised a question on extradition law "of general public importance", paving the way for him to go to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

Sir John Thomas, sitting in London with Mr Justice Ouseley, refused the 40-year-old Australian direct permission to appeal after Sir John described Assange's chances of winning as "extraordinarily slim".

But the judges gave him 14 days to ask the Supreme Court justices themselves to give a final UK ruling.

If the Supreme Court refuses to hear his arguments, or he loses a full appeal, his remaining option will be to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Assange has fought a series of legal battles, arguing that it would be "unfair and unlawful" to order his extradition.

The Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping one woman and "sexually molesting and coercing" another in Stockholm in August last year. He denies the allegations and says they are politically motivated.

His WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables and other documents, embarrassing several governments and international businesses.

Recently, the High Court upheld a ruling by District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south east London that the computer expert should be extradited to face investigation.

Assange said of the latest ruling: "I think that is the correct decision, and I am thankful. The long struggle for justice for me and others continues."


From Belfast Telegraph