Assange request for appeal granted, set for Feb 1: court

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted permission to appeal against extradition from Britain to Sweden over rape allegations and a hearing will start on February 1, a court said Friday.

"The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal and a hearing has been scheduled for two days, beginning on 1 February 2012," said a statement from the Supreme Court, the highest court in England.

The decision means Assange will spend a second Christmas at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in Norfolk, eastern England.

He was arrested last December on a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden after allegations by two women of sexual assault and rape.

The 40-year-old Australian strongly denies any wrongdoing and says the sex with the women was consensual.

He believes the allegations are politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

© 2011 AFP

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