The High Court ruling on Monday allowing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to take his extradition case to the Supreme Court came as Parliament prepared to debate calls by MPs to review extradition rules.
Many MPs argue that the extradition regime, especially Britain's treaty with America, is “unbalanced'' and have tabled a motion demanding a fresh look at it. Echoing MPs concern, Mr. Assange said the issues surrounding deportation had left “many aggrieved families in the U.K. and other countries and in Europe struggling for justice”.
Swedish authorities, demanding Mr. Assange's extradition, have not charged him with any offence and say at this stage they want him only to answer allegations of sexual assault brought by two women.
Mr. Assange denies sexual misconduct and believes that the case is politically motivated. He fears that, if he is extradited, Swedish authorities might hand him over to Americans who have threatened to prosecute him for leaking classified and confidential documents.
“I have not been charged with any crime in any country. Despite this, the European arrest warrant is so restrictive that it prevents U.K. courts from considering the facts for a case,'' he said.
Mr Assange, who was arrested in November last year, is on bail under conditions that have been likened to house arrest.
Mr. Assange's lawyers argued that his extradition would be unlawful because the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) on the basis of which he was arrested was invalid as it had been issued by a prosecutor, and not a “judicial authority”.
The Supreme Court, they said, should decide whether he could be extradited on the basis of a warrant issued by a “partisan prosecutor working for the executive” and whether he could be defined as “the accused” though no decision has been taken to prosecute him.
“Public prosecutors should not, in any circumstances, be permitted to issue EAWs,” said Mark Summers, appearing for Mr. Assange.