In a reversal of its own judgment issued in March, the U.K. high court threw out an application to quash British police permission to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden over sexual assault charges Friday.
Assange’s appeal marked a second effort to get that permission lifted by the justice system. The high court had cleared the way for Sweden to take custody of Assange in March, throwing out a previous appeal by WikiLeaks and his attorney. The Swedish prosecution had to sign off on that approval, and the high court’s Monday decision must be approved by Sweden as well as an appellate court. The petitioners can then appeal to the U.K. supreme court, which has the power to overturn the lower courts’ decisions.
Assange, who is holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition, lost a major battle in May when the Supreme Court rejected his case. Assange returned to the embassy a few days later, taking refuge there to avoid arrest, after U.K. authorities expressed their interest in arresting him if he left.
In a statement to Fox News, Assange’s attorney, Jennifer Robinson, said her client’s asylum will be upheld by Ecuador’s Supreme Court next week.
“I am disappointed that the judge made what I consider to be a dangerous judgment, which allows the British government to circumvent our responsibility to extradite the defendant from the U.K. to the UK to face justice in his case,” she said.
Robinson added that Britain is merely “court shopping” to get Assange extradited to the U.S. over the release of some 400,000 secret documents on WikiLeaks.
Assange has made it clear he would rather go to the U.S. for trial for publishing those documents.