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British High Court Rejects Assange Extradition Appeal

November 02, 2011

VOA News

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his appeal to prevent his extradition to Sweden to face sex charges.

London's High Court ruled against his appeal Wednesday. Swedish authorities want to question Assange, 40, regarding an alleged rape of one woman and molestation of another. The 2010 incidents reportedly took place in Stockholm.

Assange claims the charges are politically motivated and denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

"I have not been charged with any crime in any country," he said. "Despite this, 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.”

Attorneys for Assange say it is unclear whether they will attempt to appeal the ruling to Britain's Supreme Court. His lawyers have two weeks to decide whether to try to overturn Wednesday's ruling and then convince the High Court that there are sufficient grounds to justify the appeal.

Assange is currently free on bail in Britain.

Wikileaks has released hundreds of thousands of classified documents lifted from the computer files of U.S. diplomatic and military operations.

U.S. authorities are investigating whether Assange broke any laws.

Two weeks ago, Assange said his organization is suspending the publishing of secret documents in order to concentrate on fundraising to ensure its future survival. Assange said a financial blockade by American companies such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal means WikiLeaks will have to aggressively focus on raising funds.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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