Julian Assange has been given another lifeline in his fight to not be extradited to Sweden, with British courts ruling that he may take the fight onto the UK Supreme Court.
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Last month, the Wikileaks founder’s battle to not be extradited to face questioning over allegations of rape was dealt a blow when a UK court ruled that he must be deported from the UK to face Swedish authorities.
By convincing two High Court judges that the case was of “general public importance,” however, Assange’s lawyers have ensured that the beleaguered 40-year old will be allowed to remain in Britain for what will most probably be an extended period of time.
Since November 2010, when the allegations — which at the time included charges of “rape by surprise” — first surfaced, Assange has been in pitched legal battles to not be sent to Sweden. During that time he has been serving house arrest at the country manor of a wealthy supporter.
In court, his representatives have presented a number of technical legal arguments including “issue of warrant, dual criminality, proportionality, and whether the alleged conduct is an offence,” as reasons why he should not be extradited. Assange, however, has told a far “simpler” tale in public.
Assange has repeatedly stated that there was no rape (by surprise or otherwise) and that the sexual encounters between him and the two women who have laid complaints was consensual. The 40-year-old Australian whistleblower believes that the charges are both a smear campaign, and a ruse to enable US authorities to get their hands on him.
Despite his legal battle — also including a failed attempt to keep his memoirs from being published — Assange has not been silent on “matters of international import”.
Assange continues, meanwhile, to rail against those he perceives as enemies of his mission. Most recently, in a tirade against Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, he labelled her a “coward” and an “embarrassment” before accusing her of looking to take over Barack Obama’s presidency.
Within days of those comments, he again raised eyebrows when he said that the entire British media establishment was the most “credit-stealing, credit-whoring, backstabbing industry” he has ever encountered.