WIKILEAKS FOUNDER Julian Assange has been granted leave to appeal the UK High Court’s decision to allow him be extradited to Sweden.
The Supreme Court today said it would consider an appeal lodged by Assange next February. A seven-judge panel will hear the Australian’s case in a two-day hearing on February 1 and 2.
The decision to hold a hearing in front of a seven-judge panel indicates that the issue is deemed to be of great public importance.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Assange’s lawyers had argued in the High Court earlier this month that the European Arrest Warrant issued in Sweden, where he is wanted for a number of sexual assault charges including rape, was not valid.
Their case rests on an argument that the warrant was not issued by a judge – meaning it does not comply with the European legal requirement that it be issued by a “judicial authority”.
Assange has been under house arrest in the UK for the last year while the proceedings continue.
The court’s decision co-incidentally came as the man suspected of being WikiLeaks’ prime informant, Bradley Manning, appears in a military court in the US for the first time.
The BBC reports that lawyers representing Manning, an intelligence analyst, asked the investigating officer to step aside.
The court hearing in Maryland – officially an ‘Article 32′ hearing – is to determine whether Manning will stand a full trial.
He is suspected of leaking over 720,000 classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, but is expected to argue that his actions were in the greater public good.