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WikiLeaks founder wins right to appeal

December 16, 2011 | 10:37 am

REPORTING FROM LONDON -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges before Britain's Supreme Court.

The nation's highest court announced Friday it has scheduled a two-day hearing for Assange starting Feb. 1.

Assange is accused of having sexually assaulting two women in August 2010 during a visit to Sweden. A Swedish prosecutor has called for his extradition to face charges of rape and molestation.

The 40-year-old Australian who founded the website that has leaked thousands of diplomatic documents from U.S. archives onto the Internet, says he is innocent of the charges and maintains his arrest is politically motivated, a move toward his further extradition from Sweden to America to face charges of leaking classified information.

He has been held on bail since December 2010, and has been living under house arrest in an English country mansion, the home of a supporter. He wears an electronic tag and reports daily to local police.

His case will be heard by seven of the 12 Supreme Court judges, according to the court statement, “given the great public importance of the issue raised, which is whether a prosecutor is a judicial authority.”


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 -- Janet Stobart

Photo: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves a London court hearing in his long-running extradition case earlier this month.  Credit: Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images