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JULIAN ASSANGE: THE END OF WIKILEAKS?

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

A SUBDUED Julian Assange is considering his legal options after his appeal against extradition to Sweden was rejected in the British High Court today.

The controversial head of the whistle-blowing website has been  fighting a European arrest warrant for questioning in Sweden over  alleged sex offences in August last year.

“We will be considering our next step (in the coming days),”  Assange said.

His lawyers have been allowed up to 21 days to prepare a case to  convince the courts to allow for a third and final appeal to the  Supreme Court.

It had been expected that Assange would try to take his case  further but he was very guarded in his comments outside the Royal  Courts of Justice in central London.

After dismissing Assange’s appeal on Wednesday, Lord Justice  Thomas allowed for a “short hearing” within the next three weeks to  decide whether the 40-year-old Australian’s case could be taken to  the next level.

Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court will only be granted on a  point of law of general public importance.

Outside the courts, a small gathering of Assange supporters  assembled more than an hour before the handing down of the  decision.

There was a large crowd as Assange addressed the media and  supporters on the steps of the court.

However it was not on the same scale as the numbers that  attended his initial hearings in December last year.

Assange entered the court in a grey tie, white shirt and dark  suit and in a relaxed mood considering the circumstances.

He briefly chatted to members of his inner circle before the  decision was handed down.

“The result therefore, we have dismissed the appeal,” Lord  Justice Thomas said.

Assange’s team had expected such a verdict and there were no  visible signs of surprise following the decision.

The verdict is viewed as another blow to WikiLeaks, the  organisation going public last week about its financial  difficulties which has forced it to stop publishing.

Assange, the website’s founder, has been portrayed as the brains  of the secretive operation.

European arrest warrants are rarely blocked in British courts.

Home Secretary Theresa May must sign off on an extradition  request but that has been seen as a mere formality.

Since being arrested in December in London, Assange has spent  the past 11 months living under strict bail conditions in a Norfolk  mansion.

Assange has long denied the allegations and claimed they were  politically motivated.

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