Swedish authorities want to put Assange on trial for raping one woman and sexually molesting another, claims he denies.
Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder say that the extradition is “unlawful” and Assange argues that the charges are politically motivated.
WikiLeaks has published a number of leaked government cables, causing much diplomatic embarrassment. It is this, says Assange, that lies behind Sweden’s efforts to get him into court.
Today, a judge will rule whether to uphold a ruling in February that Assange should be extradited to face investigation.
Assange’s QC, Ben Emmerson, argued in July that the arrest warrant contained “fundamental misstatements” and that the complaints involves “consensual sex” and would not be crimes in England.
If Assange is extradited today, the future of WikiLeaks looks precarious. The website has been struggling under financial pressure.
It has also been questioned whether the rest of the group would have the technical knowledge to keep the site running.
“I don’t think that WikiLeaks will exist without Assange,” said Maurer, a research associate at the Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs who has been studying the whistleblower website.
For the past year, while he has been under house arrest, Assange has been running WikiLeaks from a friend’s country mansion. Although he has 20 staff, there is no clear candidate to take over the operation should be jailed.
If Assange loses his appeal, he will have the chance to take his case to the supreme court, on the grounds that issues are of general public importance.