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WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Appeals U.K. Extradition Ruling

Julian Assange
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

The former computer hacker faces rape and sexual assault charges in Sweden.

LONDON -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed against Britain's Supreme Court's decision to back his extradition to Sweden where he faces rape and sexual assault charges.

Assange's lawyers have argued that some of the judges at Britain's top court reached their decision based on a legal point that had not been argued in court, preventing the defense team from making a counter-submission.

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Two weeks ago, judges at Britain's top court rejected his argument by a 5-2 majority that a European arrest warrant for his extradition was invalid, seemingly putting an end to an 18-month legal battle.

At that time, Assange and his legal team was given 14 days to challenge the Supreme Court ruling and a spokeswoman said on Tuesday that an appeal had been submitted.

"No time has been set to look at the evidence," the spokeswoman said of the latest appeal process. "We are hoping it will be done promptly."

After a British lower court's decision to extradite him last year, Assange called on the U.K.'s highest court to avoid having to go to the Scandinavian country where he faces charges of rape and sexual assault.

They were brought by two former WikiLeaks volunteers who have accused him of "four offenses of unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape."

Assange continues to fight the extradition order and also could appeal to the European court of human rights should this latest appeal against the decision prove fruitless for the Wikileaks founder.

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The former computer hacker gained international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing secret video footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.

That made him a hero to anti-censorship campaigners but inflamed tempers in Washington over the release of classified documents.

The U.K.'s Crown Prosecution Service has said that if the ECHR takes the case, it will not extradite Assange until the case has been heard.

The Australia-born Assange has been under house arrest in the U.K. since December 2010.