Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden for further questioning on allegations of sexual offences, a London judge has ruled.
Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, delivered his ruling at at Belmarsh magistrates court hearing in London. Assange will have seven days to appeal the decision or face extradition in ten days.
Assange’s case was adjourned until today, after Assange attended Belmarsh magistrates court on January 11. He was granted a slight amendment to his bail conditions, allowing him to reside at a different address in London, not the Norfolk mansion where he had been staying during the course of his bail.
The Wikileaks founder was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on December 7 on behalf of the Swedish authorities over allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden. He was granted bail on December 16 but was released with strict conditions placed upon him.
Assange would have to pay a £200,000 cash deposit, then a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000 and restrictions on his movements for ensure his release. Assange was then allowed to leave the courtroom and head to the residence stated in his bail conditions, where he has resided ever since.
With companies including Mastercard, Visa and Paypal withdrawing their services from the Wikileaks site, Assange has had to find alternative means to finance both the site and his legal proceedings. He has since signed a book deal worth a reported $1.5 million, helping Assange “defend [himself] and to keep WikiLeaks afloat”.
Assange’s legal team have stated fears that the Wikileaks founder would not receive a fair trial in Sweden, arguing that the European arreset warrant was invalid because the the alleged sexual assaults was not legitimate extraditable offenses. If Assange is extradited, he believes it will make him a target for US authorities to then extradite him to the US on charges related to the leaked US cables.
An appeal is expected, ensuring Assange will not the UK just yet. To view the full Assange ruling, it can be found here.