It's been a long time since Julian Assange was arrested for an alleged rape and sexual assault in Sweden. According to Wikileaks, he's been detained in house arrest for 533 days. He's been in and out of court hearings, starting a TV show, running for Australian government positions and even guest starring on the Simpsons. It's those court hearings that are the most important though and we should finally hear a verdict next week.
The Guardian is reporting that the U.K. supreme court will finally decide on whether or not Assange should be extradited to Sweden. The verdict is expected to come Wednesday, but they've been putting off this verdict for long enough already. I wouldn't be surprised if it was delayed once again.
For those who are just joining us, the case is pretty simple. Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny issued the original European Arrest Warrant for Assange. The Wikileaks founder's lawyers argue that Ny outstepped her authority to issue such a warrant. During the appeal proceedings in February, the defense argued that Ny “lacks the impartiality and the independence from both the executive and the parties which constitute essential features of the exercise of judicial authority under domestic and European law.”
The Swedish authorities argue that they don't need to be "independent and impartial" when in the "preliminary stages of an investigation." Sweden apparently thinks that extraditing an Australian citizen from the U.K. to Sweden is part of a preliminary investigation. I don't know what preliminary means in Sweden, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean a full-fledged extradition that assumes Assange is guilty without trial.
Seven justices will be deciding the Assange case according to The Guardian. They speculate that the large number of justices means that the U.K. is taking the issue very seriously. That could be why they have taken so long to decide this particular case.
If Assange does lose the appeal, he still has one avenue available to him. He can take the case up to the European Court of Human Rights which only has 14 days to respond to the appeal. This isn't the first time the ECHR has shown up recently as one of the founders of The Pirate Bay has appealed to it as a last ditch effort to avoid fines and a prison sentence.
If the U.K. Supreme Court does deliver a verdict next Wednesday, we'll be sure to let you know. The outcome of this case has a lot riding on it. Not only will the outcome immediately affect Assange, but it could have an effect on future extradition proceedings.[lead photo courtesy of acidpolly on flickr]