Judge Says WikiLeaks' Assange Can be Extradited

Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 06:43 AM

 

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LONDON — A British judge says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over sex crimes claims.

Judge Howard Riddle says the allegations of rape and sexual molestation by two women are extraditable offenses and a Swedish warrant was properly issued.

Lawyers for Assange have a week to appeal Thursday's decision.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange about accusations of sexual abuse from two women relating to a brief visit there last summer. He has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

Assange has been out on bail during the extradition fight.

His lawyers have questioned Sweden's judicial process and expressed concern their client risks being handed over to the U.S., which is investigating whether Assange's website should be held responsible for leaking classified information.

Lawyers for Sweden have argued that authorities made repeated attempts to interview Assange while he was in Scandinavia, but to no avail.

The U.S. is investigating whether Assange's secret-spilling website should be held responsible for leaking classified information, including a recent cache of thousands of diplomatic cables.

Judge Howard Riddle has conceded that an appeal to his ruling is "inevitable."

About a dozen WikiLeaks and Assange supporters in ski hats and parkas gathered outside the court hours before the hearing on a damp morning, hanging banners and signs saying "Free Julian Assange and Bradley Manning," the young army private suspected of leaking the documents.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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