The founder of the WikiLeaks website is promising to appeal a British ruling that would send him to Sweden to face allegations of sex crimes.
Julian Assange told supporters outside a British courthouse Thursday he will fight the ruling, which he dismissed as part of a “European arrest warrant system run amok.”
Swedish authorties want to question Assange about allegations made by two women last August, but Assange and his lawyers say the WikiLeaks founder will not be able to get a fair hearing in Sweden.
The lawyers also say they are concerned Sweden will extradite Assange to the United States, where the government is investigating WikiLeaks for the release of diplomatic cables, some containing sensitive information.
A lawyer representing the women making the allegations accused Assange of trying to mislead the public, and said he would get a fair hearing in Sweden.
Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday that Washington “is not involved,” despite claims to the contrary.
Assange’s mother also criticized the ruling Thursday, telling media outlets it amounted to “political and legal gang rape.”
In his ruling Thursday, British Judge Howard Riddle dismissed concerns by Assange and his lawyers that extraditing the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden would violate his human rights.
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The 39-year-old Assange has been free on bail in Britain. He has seven days to formally appeal the ruling.