Assange's Swedish lawyer thinks he will be extradited

12th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer said Tuesday he believes there are strong chances a London court will decide to extradite his client to Sweden for questioning about rape allegations.

"I think there is a big risk he will come here," Bjoern Hurtig told Swedish public radio.

Hurtig's comments came just before the WikiLeaks frontman Assange was set to appear at the High Court in London to start his appeal against a lower court ruling he could be extradited to Sweden for questioning related to suspicions of rape and sexual molestation.

"I hope this is going to go as Julian wants but I believe the chances for change are fairly small," the lawyer said, adding he thought Assange's British legal team would concentrate more this time on formalities than on criticising the Swedish legal system and Assange's accusers.

"I believe they will contest the European arrest order on judidicial grounds," he said.

"There is the possibility (the court) will change the decision but I think the chances are fairly small."

Assange's hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday will take place before two judges. The decision is expected to be deferred until a later date.

Even if the ruling goes against him, Assange's lawyers have signalled he is prepared for a lengthy legal battle and could take his challenge all the way to the Supreme Court.

The former computer hacker has been living under strict bail conditions, including wearing an electronic ankle tag and a curfew, at a friend's mansion in eastern England since December.

He was arrested in December after two Swedish women accused him of sexual assault.

Assange has vehemently denied the allegations, hinting they could be politically motivated as his whistleblowing website was at the time in the process of releasing a huge cache of leaked US diplomatic cables.

© 2011 AFP

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