BY NICOLE THOMPSON
ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lost his latest appeal in the UK to avoid extradition to Sweden-- where he’s suspected of committing sex crimes. MSNBC’s Chris Jansing has more.
“Big setback for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who’s been fighting to stay in England. A London court has ordered Assange to be deported to Sweden. There’s he’s going to face rape and molestation charges. Two women accuse him, but Assange says he’s innocent.”
Swedish authorities haven’t formally charged Assange --but he is wanted for questioning. The whistleblower spoke to reporters after the verdict was read, and expressed frustration with the British courts. The BBC has his statement.
“The European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of a case, as judges have made clear here today. We will be considering our next step in the days ahead... No doubt there will be many attempts made to try and spin these proceedings as they occurred today, but they are merely technical.”
Assange has maintained the allegations against him are false and are actually political payback for publishing classified documents through Wikileaks. British investigative reporter Tony Gosling agrees-- here’s what he tells Russia’s RT.
“Well I think the object here is actually to just disrupt Wikileaks, to stop it functioning, and they’ve been successful here. Ultimately I hope that the Supreme Court, although I don’t have a fantastic amount of faith in it, is going to do the right thing, is going to deliver justice, which is to actually give Assange a pat on the back... What we’ve got here is a kind of Orwellian situation, and it appears that Orwell is right. That the people who are telling the truth are being closed down.”
Closed down is spot on, CNN reports, Wikileaks has problems beyond Assange’s legal woes.
“PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, all these companies have basically frozen Wikileaks’ account, and that means that the main source of its funding has been cut off dramatically. In fact, Wikileaks says that 95 percent of its funding has dropped off... Since Julian Assange lost the appeal, he is responsible for paying the prosecutor’s costs as well, and this is something his lawyers said he did not want to do.”
So what’s the next step for Assange? Al Jazeera says, this battle is far from over, but it doesn’t look too good for Assange.
“He doesn’t have an automatic right of appeal, but if his lawyers can convince the judges that there is an issue of wider public interest, it would go to the highest court in Britain, that is the Supreme Court. That would be in early 2012, probably... It is customary for one European country to extradite to another when it gets a request.”
Sweden’s English news site, The Local, reports - Assange’s accusers are, quote, “relieved”, by today’s ruling.
Transcript by Newsy.
BY MAURICE SCARBOROUGH
You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is headed to Sweden, against his wishes. A British court ordered Assange extradited to face charges of sexual abuse.
The ruling, by Judge Howard Riddle, says allegations brought against Assange by his two accusers are an extraditable offense.
“Generally the European arrest warrant with countries like Sweden are accepted, and certainly that is the case, and certainly the judge felt that none of the defense arguments were valid. For example, that the state prosecutor in Sweden didn’t have the right, didn’t have the authority to issue the European arrest warrant, also he doesn’t believe there wouldn’t be a fair trial.”
The verdict comes after a heated three-month legal battle, which some believe is a conspiracy to stop the whistle blower website. Assange’s lawyers fought the EU arrest warrant, which according to Deutsche Welle....
“...is meant to expedite the judicial process. The requesting country does not have to present evidence and there is no place for the person being charged to argue their innocence.”
Following the verdict Assange and his lawyers issued a media statement condemning the decision and the system.
“It is not just about the pressure the United States brings to bear on the United Kingdom and on Sweden and on the media. It offers a hope for reform of the EU arrest warrant system. That system of rubber stamp deportation.”
A writer for Death & Taxes rushes to Assange’s defense - calling the extradition decision a downright disgrace.
“Judge Howard Riddle’s ruling is shameful. He is [complicit] in the first great character assassination of the 21st century ... he has attempted to fog the looking glass for a new generation of hyper-connected, clear-thinking young adults. This tactic will not work, so long as we don’t tire of Julian Assange..”
Assange and his defense team have already announced they plan to appeal the decision. His lawyers are concerned extradition to Sweden will make extradition to Washington easier -- where he could face prosecution in connection to Wikileaks.
But a writer for Yahoo’s The Cutline says, the Wikileaks founder should have nothing to worry about, citing a possible loophole in U.S. law.
“...the United States could have a hard time … considering that the Espionage Act--an antiquated statute--would also apply to any news organization that published the secret documents, along with anyone who discussed, blogged or even tweeted information from the still-classified documents.”
Assange and his lawyers have seven days to appeal the ruling or Assange will head to Sweden.
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