Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his appeal against his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sex crimes.
The Supreme Court, Britain's highest court, on Wednesday rejected his appeal in a 5-2 majority ruling by senior judges, thereby bringing an end to 18 months' legal battle by the 40-year-old Australian.
Assange's lawyers had argued that the European arrest warrant issued for him was invalid because it was made by prosecutors rather than a judge. However, Lord Phillips, the President of the court, said "judicial authority" could mean a prosecutor.
Lawyers for the whistle-blower, who embarrassed the United States by publishing tens of thousands of diplomatic cables and sensitive military files, indicated they may try to get the case reopened. Assange can also move the European Court of Human Rights to avoid extradition.
The Swedish authorities want to question Assange over allegation of rape raised by one woman, and of sexual coercion by another, which reportedly happened on his visit to the Scandinavian country in 2010.
Since his arrest in Britain in December 2010, Assange has been fighting lengthy legal battles against extradition, fearing that his return to Sweden would end up in the United States where he would face the wrath of the authorities.
He was on bail at a Norfolk country mansion of a supporter since his arrest and has to wear an electronic ankle tag and to report to the police every day.
WikiLeaks supporters staged a demonstration outside the courtroom in central London before the hearing.
by RTT Staff Writer
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