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Assange takes extradition fight to Supreme Court

Supping in last-chance saloon

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Lawyers acting for Julian Assange have filed appeal papers with the UK Supreme Court to fight his extradition to Sweden.

This is Assange’s last chance under UK law to block his deportation to Sweden to face an investigation into alleged rape and sexual molestation, after failing to win his case in the High Court earlier this month. Assange denies any wrongdoing and has suggested that his arrest is politically motivated – with his mother calling the case “the political and legal gang rape of my son."

The Supreme Court will now decide whether or not to hear the case as a matter of general public importance. The UK version of the US institution has been in operating for only around two years, and this will be a very high-profile test of its decision making capabilities.

The last line of British legal defence was formerly a panel of members of the House of Lords, the UK’s upper house, but this was changed in the dying days of the last Labour administration. The existing Law Lords all became the first Justices, but procedurally the setup is still relatively untried.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press that the filing was news to the group, and declined to comment. "This is a personal matter not a WikiLeaks matter," he said. "This is a separate issue from the organization."

Swedish media is reporting that a local PR firm claims to have been hired by Assange to handle his return to the country, should it be necessary, although his lawyer has said he’s heard of no such deal. ®

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