WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face sex offence charges, a judge ruled today.

The 39-year-old Australian is accused of sexually assaulting one woman and raping another during a week-long visit to Stockholm in August.

Assange will appeal against the ruling at the High Court, his barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC said.

Assange has been staying at Ellingham Hall, near Bungay, while on bail.

Ellingham Hall is the home of Vaughan Smith, who served in the British Army before setting up the Frontline Club in London, in 2003, to champion independent quality journalism.

During a two-and-a-half-day extradition hearing earlier this month at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south London, Assange's lawyers argued that if he is sent to Sweden he is likely to face a 'secret' trial held behind closed doors.

They have also claimed extradition would breach his human rights and say he could ultimately be taken against his will to the United States and executed.

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Assange denies committing any offences and his supporters claim the criminal inquiry and extradition request are unfair and politically motivated.

Announcing his decision at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south-east London, District Judge Howard Riddle said extraditing Assange to Sweden would not breach his human rights.

He also disagreed with defence lawyers' claims that what Assange is accused of doing would not actually amount to rape in this country.

And he dismissed the argument that the whistleblower would not receive a fair trial, despite a certain amount of negative publicity surrounding the case.