Assange to Be Extradited
London court approves extradition of WikiLeaks founder to Sweden
Original Post: A British court ordered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden this morning. Assange, whose leaks of classified state documents have made him an international lightning rod in recent months, is facing allegations of sexual assault from two Stockholm women.
Judge Howard Riddle's ruling--while not a surprise--complicates Assange's campaign for diplomatic transparency and sets the stage for months of legal wrangling as he attempts to fight extradition. (Good thing he opened that t-shirt shop.)
Update to come...
Update: Judge Howard Riddle's complete ruling is available online, but you'd be well-served by just skipping to page ten. That's where Riddle says Assange lawyer Bjorn Hurtig made "a deliberate attempt to mislead" the court when he claimed Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny did not attempt to interview Assange about the allegations. Riddle also calls Hurtig an "unreliable witness," and says it is a "reasonable assumption from the facts" that Assange was "deliberately avoiding interrogation" when he went missing for a week in late-September.
Assange has seven days to appeal the ruling. According to the New York Times, his legal team "immediately indicated that they would do so." The Financial Times notes the appeal "may not be heard until the end of April." Until then, Assange is free on bail.
While the charges in question stem from Assange's personal life, the discussion soon turned to the impact today's ruling will have on the day-to-day operations of WikiLeaks. "A serious blow to the document-leaking site and its founder," declared The Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Whalen. "The decision ensures that Mr. Assange's efforts to build and promote WikiLeaks will be to some degree detoured." On Twitter, Salon's Glenn Greenwald was more optimistic, noting Assange "charged with nothing [by Swedish authorities]" and the "trial in Sweden will occur in secret."