Any bets on how long it takes the United States to persuade the Swedes to turn him over to American prosecutors?
Esther Addley and Alexandra Topping report on his extradition to Sweden for the Guardian:
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. Assange will appeal, his legal team has confirmed. If they lose he will be sent to Sweden in 10 days.
Delivering his ruling at a hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court in London, the chief magistrate, Howard Riddle, dismissed each of the defence’s arguments against Assange’s extradition.
Assange’s legal team had argued that the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny did not have the authority to issue a European arrest warrant. The magistrate ruled that she did possess this authority and the warrant was valid.
Ny’s credibility had been questioned by the defence team but Riddle said those doubts amounted to “very little”. A retired judge who had criticised her, Brita Sundberg-Weitman, had no firsthand knowledge or evidence to back up her opinion, he said.
The defence had argued that the allegations against Assange were not offences in English law and therefore not grounds for extradition. But Riddle said the alleged offences against Miss A of sexual assault and molestation met the criteria for extradition, and an allegation made by Miss B “would amount to rape” in this country.
In his summary Riddle accused Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, of making a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. Assange had clearly attempted to avoid the Swedish justice system before he left the country, Riddle said. “It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden.”
Riddle acknowledged there had been “considerable adverse publicity against Mr Assange in Sweden”, including statements by the prime minister. But if there had been any irregularities in the Swedish system the best place to examine them was in a Swedish trial…
[continues in the Guardian]