WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Wins Hearing for Appeal Against Extradition to Sweden

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LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won the right to appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations in the U.K.’s highest court, the Supreme Court.

The case was granted a hearing in the Supreme Court here because the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder's situation raises a question on extradition law "of general public importance,” reports said.

His appeal, according to British press reports, will be heard by a panel of seven of the 12 supreme court justices "given the great public importance of the issue raised, which is whether a prosecutor is a judicial authority," according to a Supreme Court spokesman.

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The spokesman is reported as saying: "The supreme court has today considered an application by Julian Assange for permission to appeal to the court, following the divisional court's certification of a point of law of general public importance.

"A panel of three supreme court justices – Lord Hope, Lord Mance and Lord Dyson – has considered the written submissions of the parties; this is the court's usual practice for considering applications for permission to appeal.

"The appeal hearing is set for two days, beginning February 1, 2012."

In November, Assange lost his appeal in the U.K. courts against extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.

Assange had taken his battle to the High Court but the judges ruled that the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder would have to face extradition to the Scandinavian territory to face the allegations.

The British media was awash with the ruling at the time including reports in The Guardian and The Daily Mail made by Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley.

Assange was given 14 days to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in the U.K. if he believes there is a wider issue of "public importance" at stake in the decision.

The court thinks there is.

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