WikiLeaks' Assange Loses Extradition Ruling, Will Appeal
UK District Judge Howard Riddle ruled that Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges:
"Accordingly he found 'as a matter of fact, and looking at all the circumstances in the round, this person (Mr Assange) passes the threshold of being an accused person and is wanted for prosecution.'"
Assange blasted what he called a "rubber stamping process": "It comes as no surprise but is nevertheless wrong. It comes as the result of a European arrest warrant system amok."
He was arrested in December and released on bail. On of the key points of contention was whether or not Assange had adequately made himself available for questioning in Sweden. Assange claimed he did, but Riddle disagreed.
Assange's defense also hinged on the claim that the charges he faces in Sweden are not crimes in the UK, but that also failed. Riddle ruled the charges "would amount to rape" in Britain.
The LA Times reported the 39-year-old has one week to appeal, which will likely extend the fight another month or more:
"Assange maintains that the sex-crimes allegations against him are part of a politically motivated smear campaign. His lawyers also contend that extraditing him to Sweden would merely be a prelude to sending him to the U.S., where government prosecutors are investigating the possibility of espionage charges."