Court clears way for Assange extradition fight

Updated December 06, 2011 01:11:23

Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won a last-ditch legal bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden next week.

Two British judges have ruled that Mr Assange can ask the Supreme Court to consider his appeal against extradition.

Swedish authorities want to question the 40-year-old over accusations of sexual assault made by two former female WikiLeaks volunteers during a visit to the country last year.

He insists the allegations are politically motivated and has voiced concerns that he will inevitably end up in the hands of the United States.

The judges ruled that Mr Assange's case is of general public importance, but the Supreme Court could still refuse to hear his case.

Mr Assange now has 14 days to formally lodge an appeal, meaning his stay in Britain, where he has been staying since his arrest in December last year, is certain to stretch into 2012.

His arrest came shortly after WikiLeaks published thousands of secret US diplomatic cables that included unflattering views of world leaders and candid assessments of security threats.

He had lost his last attempt to avoid being sent to Sweden on November 2 after two High Court judges upheld a previous ruling.