WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was being told Thursday whether he will be extradited to Sweden for alleged sex offences, his lawyers said.
The 39-year-old Australian faces three charges of sexually assaulting one woman and one charge of raping another during a week-long visit to Stockholm last August.
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.
District Judge Howard Riddle was delivering his judgment today on whether the whistleblower should be forced to return to the country to stand trial.
But his ruling is unlikely to mark the end of the saga, experts said.
If the decision goes against him, Assange is expected to appeal to the High Court.
And if it goes in his favour, lawyers acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities are expected to do likewise.
Assange denies committing any offences and his supporters claim the criminal inquiry and extradition request are unfair and politically motivated.
WikiLeaks has published huge secret volumes of material from the US, uncovering documents largely relating to politics and the military which have caused anger and embarrassment in the establishment.
Conspiracy theorists believe Assange’s arrest was orchestrated by the US government and that he is the victim of a ‘honeytrap’.