Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, will be extradited to Sweden to answer accusations of rape and sexual assault, a judge has ruled, bringing to an close the first stage of what is now likely to be a lengthy legal battle.
Assange, who has been fighting extradition since being arrested in Britain in December, must face interrogation in Sweden on the sex assault claims, ruled chief magistrate Howard Riddle, rejecting arguments that the prosecutor seeking his extradition had behaved illegally and was unqualified to issue a warrant, and that he would not receive a fair trial.
But if the judgment had been widely anticipated by both sides, the Australian’s decision to appeal against the ruling was, he told reporters afterwards, never in question. “What we saw today was a rubber-stamping process. It came as no surprise, but is nonetheless wrong. Of course, we always knew we would appeal.”