U.K. prosecutors seeking to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden to face questioning over sexual-assault allegations said the Swedish lawyer who issued the arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder was within her authority.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service told a judge at a hearing today in London that Assange’s legal team was incorrect to claim that Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny didn’t have the legal right to issue the European arrest warrant that prompted Assange to turn himself in to London police in December.
“Some of the arguments presented by Mr. Assange represent a direct challenge to the reliability and fairness of proceedings,” U.K. prosecutor Clare Montgomery said at the hearing. The Swedish prosecutor “has the power to issue a warrant under the scheme,” she said.
The alleged sexual misconduct, which two Swedish women claim took place in August, was revealed as WikiLeaks drew condemnation for posting thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic communications. Assange’s lawyers have claimed the case may be politically motivated.
District Judge Howard Riddle may give his decision as soon as tomorrow. Ny started her investigation on Sept. 1, after another prosecutor dropped the rape charge and reduced the molestation charges.
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