Wikieaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, says Britain’s Supreme Court.
But the whistleblower has been given two weeks to seek to reopen the case, an unprecedented move made because the ruling referred to elements which were not presented at the original hearings.
The court rejected an appeal by the 40-year-old Australian, who had claimed that a European Arrest Warrant was invalid.
Assange, who has been on conditional bail in the UK, was not in court to hear the ruling in London.
By a majority of five to two, the judges upheld the decision of two lower courts.
The case hinged on a technicality. Assange’s lawyers had contested the legality of the arrest warrant because it was issued by a Swedish prosecutor as opposed to a neutral judge or court.
The decision will be a blow to his supporters, who showed up in force again outside the court on Wednesday.
The anti-secrecy campaigner gained international prominence two years ago when Wikileaks began leaking classified US documents, but Washington and other governments saw the former computer hacker as a threat.
Assange has been fighting a lengthy legal battle since being arrested 18 months ago.
He argues the case is politically motivated and denies allegations of rape and sexual assault, filed by two former Wikileaks volunteers after he visited Sweden in 2010.