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Julian Assange loses rape questioning extradition appeal

The founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange has lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden where is wanted to face questioning regarding alleged sex-crimes.

Assange, however, still has another chance to evade the charges as he has been given seven days to decide whether to appeal this latest ruling against him. If he does so, he would have to successfully argue that here is a wider issue of “public importance” at stake in the decision. If he does not appeal the ruling, he could sent to Sweden within 10 days.

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In this latest hearing, lawyers for Assange argued the warrant was invalid due to significant discrepancies between its allegations of sexual assault and rape and the testimonies of the two women he has admitted to having had sex with. According to initial reports, Assange lost the appeal on four grounds: Issue of warrant, dual criminality, proportionality, and whether the alleged conduct is an offence.

The case has dragged on since November 2010 when the world was shocked by news that two Swedish women had alleged various sexual-misconduct crimes against Assange after he had visited Stokholm in August of that year. One of the charges against Assange was reported to be “sex by surprise“.

In the interim, Assange has been living in England at the mansion estate of supporter Vaughn Smith under restricted bail conditions which have seen him reporting to a police station daily and wearing a tracking electronic-bracelet.

Assange was awarded with the Sydney Peace Foundation’s top honour for “exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights” while fighting the extradition.

Assange was most recently in headlines when he announced Wikileaks’ “temporary” shut down to fight the “arbitrary & unlawful” financial blockade by MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Western Union, and the Bank of America.

Since the case came to the fore, Assange has always maintained that the charges are false and are, in fact, politically motivated.

His supporters have also alleged that the case was a result of Sweden bowing to political pressure from the US saying that once in Sweden, Assange will be extradited to the US to face charges over his organisation’s leaking of millions of highly classified US diplomatic cables.

Memeburn correction: This story has been edited to reflect that Julian Assange is wanted for questioning, not charges, regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct.

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