Assange extradition ruling to come within days

Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, is expected to discover whether he will be extradited to Sweden this week.

Story highlights

  • Assange supporters plan a rally outside a court Wednesday
  • He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over claims of sexual misconduct
  • Assange denies the allegations and says extradition would be unfair
  • He said this week that WikiLeaks was struggling to stay afloat financially
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will find out Wednesday whether he is to be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on sexual misconduct allegations, a U.K court said.
If the court rules in his favor, Assange can expect to go free, after living under strict bail conditions, including house arrest, for months.
Appeals court judges Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Ouseley will give their decision at 9:45 a.m. local time, a statement said.
Assange's supporters are planning a "Free Assange" rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday.
Assange, an Australian, decided to fight the case at London's High Court after a judge at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court ruled in February that the WikiLeaks head should be extradited.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents in August 2010.
Assange denies the accusations, saying they are an attempt to smear him, and says it would be unfair to send him to a country where the language and legal system are alien to him. His attorneys have fought his extradition on procedural and human-rights grounds.
Assange's lawyers have raised the possibility that Sweden would hand him over to the United States if Britain extradites him to Sweden. The prosecutor representing Sweden has dismissed that claim.
The extradition case is not linked to Assange's work as founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, which has put him on the wrong side of the U.S. authorities.
His organization, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables in the past year, causing embarrassment to the U.S. government and others.
It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the organization has come under increasing financial pressure in recent months, leading Assange to announce Monday that Wikileaks was temporarily stopping publication to "aggressively fundraise" in order to stay afloat.
A financial blockade by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union has destroyed 95% of WikiLeaks' revenue, Assange said.
Many financial institutions stopped doing business with the site after it released the U.S. diplomatic cables late last year, and donations have been stymied.
U.S. authorities have said disclosing the classified information was illegal and caused risks to individuals and national security.