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Assange loses extradition case, to appeal

AJ:

An English court has ordered Julian Assange, the founder of whistle blowing website WikiLeaks, to be extradited to Sweden over sex crimes claims.

Howard Riddle, the judge at Belmarsh Magistrate's court in London, said on Thursday that the allegations of rape and sexual molestation brought by two women were extraditable offences and that a Swedish arrest warrant was properly issued.

Lawyers for the 39-year-old Australian said they would be contesting the decision, having previously argued that Assange would not be given a fair trial in Sweden and could face extradition to the United States.

"We will be appealing," Geoffrey Robertson, his main lawyer, told the court following the ruling.

Tim Friend, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the court, said it was a "devastating blow" for Assange and his team, but that he could ultimately seek appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.