A British court ordered on Thursday that Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden to confront accusations that he sexually abused two women. Via the New York Times, Judge Howard Riddle ruled “that allegations brought by two women qualified as extraditable offenses and that the warrant seeking Mr. Assange’s return to Sweden for questioning was valid.” Here, it’s important to note that Assange has not been charged with a crime in Sweden, but must submit to questioning should his appeal of the British decision, required within seven days, not reverse the extradition ruling.
The Times notes that this trial has lasted three months and has been just as hard fought in the courtroom as in the media, for “what Mr. Assange, his legal team and his celebrity supporters say is a conspiracy to stop WikiLeaks and its campaign to expose government and corporate secrets.”
But Assange has also weathered a more personal storm as his idiosyncrasies have become fair game for widespread mockery — from the editor of the New York Times to WikiLeaks’ old spokesman — thereby muting the impact of both his organization’s government leaks and the seriousness of the sexual allegations he faces.
More from the Times:
Under Sweden’s strict sexual-crimes laws, he is accused of two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of rape. His accusers, both WikiLeaks volunteers, have said that their sexual encounters with Mr. Assange started out as consensual but turned nonconsensual.
Mr. Assange has said the accusations are “incredible lies,” and he has referred to Sweden as “the Saudi Arabia of feminism.”
If convicted, Assange could face up to four years in Swedish prison.