Assange back in court for extradition hearing

Assange is the controversial Australian founder of Wikileaks
Assange is the controversial Australian founder of Wikileaks

By politics.co.uk staff

Transparency campaigner Julian Assange is back in court for a two-day extradition hearing.

The Wikileaks founder is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion made by two women in the summer.

Acting for the Crown, Clare Montgomery QC rejected the argument of the defence that Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny was not authorised to issue a European arrest warrant.


Ms Montgomery also insisted that the crimes of which Mr Assange is accused would be pursuable in English courts.

Mr Assange's defence team insist that some of the crimes he is being questioned about are not recognised as such under English law. One of the principles of extradition law is that the offence in question must be considered a crime in both countries.

But Ms Montgomery said the alleged rape and three counts of sexual assault were without consent.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is leading Mr Assange's legal defence team, said the three sexual assault complaints do not feature the allegation that there was no consent and that they took place within a context of consensual sex.

Mr Robertson attacked the Swedish law of 'minor rape' saying it was a contradiction in terms and does not involve coercion, force or lack of consent.

The defence team have argued that Mr Assange should not be extradited because he is only wanted for questioning, not charge, but Ms Montgomery rejected that point, saying the warrant "clearly denotes a sufficient intention to prosecute".

Mr Robertson argued that a fair trial would be impossible in Sweden because of the public statements made against Mr Assange there.

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