Julian Assange's extradition appeal dismissed by Supreme Court

ABC News..Australia

Britain's Supreme Court has ruled Australian-born WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden.

The seven judge panel ruled five to two that Mr Assange's extradition appeal be dismissed and he be extradited to Sweden.

The panel has ruled Sweden's prosecutor is a judicial authority and thus the European arrest warrant is valid.

"The request for Mr Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly is dismissed," Supreme Court president Judge Nicholas Phillips said on Wednesday.

Swedish authorities argued before the hearing that if his appeal is granted it could throw the fast-tracked European arrest warrant system into turmoil, with implications across the continent.

A Swedish prosecutor wants to question Mr Assange over allegations he sexually assaulted two women in August 2010.

Mr Assange has previously said the sex was consensual, and says the allegations are politically motivated.

The claims followed Mr Assange's release of a swathe of leaked US diplomatic cables that embarrassed governments and international businesses.

Mr Assange fears he may be extradited to the United States from Sweden.

In a surprising absence, Mr Assange was not present in the court today to hear the verdict. One of his supporters, journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, said he was "stuck in traffic" with his mother Christine, who flew in from Australia for the verdict.

Christine Assange said ahead of the judgement: "It's a 24-hour nightmare because we know he is not safe and the biggest governments in the world are gunning for him."