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(Publicerat idag kl 17.31)
JUDICIARY

Accusers "relieved" at overruled Assange appeal

Publicerat onsdag 2 november 2011 kl 15.22
"It wasn't a surprise"
(2:31 min)
Julian Assange arrives at court. Photo: Leon Neal/Scanpix

The two Swedish women who have accused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of rape and sexual assault are said to be relieved that the appeal of his extradition to Sweden was denied. 

The London High Court issued its verdict this morning. In Stockholm, Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig reacted to the news. "It's of course upsetting for Julian, but it isn't suprising," he told Swedish Radio News.

The lawyer for the two women who reported Assange for rape and sexual assault told media: "It has been very trying for them to live with this uncertainty, especially since they themselves have found themselves attacked," said Clas Borgstrom to news agency TT.

It is a case which has divided Wikileaks supporters across the globe. Some jumped to the enigmatic Julian Assange's defence, saying he had made many enemies and was being framed. Others felt that the reputation of the whistleblower website had been damaged by the purported crimes of its outspoken rebel leader.

In between those two camps, most observers simply wanted more facts.

Assange travelled to Sweden in the summer of 2010 to give a lecture. During his trip the 40-year-old Australian slept with two women, both described as ardent Wikileaks fan.

What happened afterwards brought Sweden's strict rape and sexual assault laws into focus. One woman thought Assange may have broken a condom on purpose. The second women says he initiated sexual intercourse when she was still asleep. They went together to the local police station and filed charges.

The Swedish prosecutor's office issued a warrant so Assange could be taken in for questioning but he left the country before a hearing was held.

An European Arrest Warrant was issued and Assange handed himself in to British police.

His Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig told Swedish Radio News: "I am very critical of this process. He said he was willing to travel to Sweden or be questioned in London. This has all been exaggerated."

In February, a court decided that Assange would be sent to Sweden.

He immediately appealed.

Assange's team has made reference to Sweden's extradition treaty with the US, where Wikileaks made many powerful enemies by publishing classified files from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

This morning, as the High Court issued its verdict, reporters at the scene described Assange as "visibly shaken." His lawyers said they would appeal again.

Back home in Australia, Assange's mother reacted to the news. "Now Julian's even closer to a US extradition," she told news agency AAP. "He will go to the US and he will be tortured."

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