Assange in Last Bid to Dodge Extradition

WikiLeaks founder faces Britain's supreme court
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2012 9:03 AM CST
Supporters of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder wait for his arrival outside the Supreme Court in London, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.   (Alastair Grant)
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(Newser) – Julian Assange took his extradition battle to Britain's Supreme Court today, arguing that sending him to Sweden would violate a fundamental principle of natural law. The two-day hearing is Assange's last chance to persuade British judges to quash efforts to send him to Scandinavia, where he is wanted on sex crimes allegations. The case hinges on a single technical point: whether Sweden's public prosecutor can properly issue a warrant for Assange's arrest.

In Britain, generally only judges can issue arrest warrants. Lawyers for Sweden argue that, in Sweden as in other European countries, prosecutors play a judicial or semi-judicial role. Assange lawyer Dinah Rose rejected that argument today, telling the seven justices in Britain's highest court that a prosecutor "does not, and indeed cannot as a matter of principle, exercise judicial authority. No one may be a judge in their own case." The UK justices will hear lawyers for the prosecution tomorrow. Their decision isn't expected for several weeks. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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