Assange extradition granted

A British judge has approved extradition to Sweden of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face allegations of rape and sexual assualt in Stockholm last August.

At a packed hearing in London, magistrate Howard Riddle dismissed all the arguments put forward by the Australian's lawyers at a two and a half day hearing earlier this month, and granted extradition. Assange will be sent to Sweden within ten days unless he appeals.

At that hearing, Assange's legal team had argued that the arrest warrant issued by Sweden was not valid because their client had never been charged with any offence and he would never face a fair trial in Sweden.

But in court today, Howard Riddle said that Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny does have the authority to issue a European arrest warrant and that the warrant is valid.

Assange, 39, has consistently denied the allegations since he was arrested and bailed in December last year. His expected appeal must be filed within 7 days, but the process could go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

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