WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange has been awarded a two-day hearing in the UK’s High Court to appeal his extradition to Sweden where he faces sexual assault allegations.
Assange’s bid to avoid extradition on the grounds that a closed court hearing in Sweden would violate his human rights was rejected by Justice Howard Riddle in February.
Assange faced three charges of sexual assault by two Swedish women who had worked as volunteers for WikiLeaks. He has expressed concern that his extradition to Sweden would eventually land him in the US legal system, where politicians have called for the death sentence.
Riddle accused Assange’s Swedish lawyer Björn Hurtig of attempting to mislead the court after finding Hurtig had misinformed key witnesses over the Swedish prosecutor's procedures.
Hurtig currently faces disciplinary action over Riddle’s allegations, according to Sweden's national radio broadcaster, Sverige Radio.
Sentiments towards Assange in Sweden soured after his legal team accused the nation of being unable to deliver a fair and open trial.
Defending its legal system, Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in February said it was “unfortunate” that women’s rights were “taken lightly” compared to other theories.
Riddle was comfortable that Sweden’s long-standing practice of closed hearings did not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. If this was in “fundamental and flagrant breach of human rights”, he would have expected to have heard of a body of cases against it, Riddle said in his ruling.
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