Assange to face hearing on Feb 7-8 over Swedish extradition

WikiLeaks founder is under investigation in Sweden for alleged sex crimes.

Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 17:21 PM IST

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face a full extradition hearing on February 7-8 when a judge will examine Sweden`s demand to extradite him to face sexual assault allegations, a judge said.

Assange, 39, was driven to London`s high-security Belmarsh Magistrates` Court on Tuesday, accompanied by his lawyer Mark Stephens.

The procedural hearing lasted for only about 10 minutes, with lawyers for both sides said they were on track for Assange`s next court appearance on February 7.

The rape and molestation accusations against Assange stem from his encounter with two women during a trip to Sweden taken over the summer, just as his website was garnering global attention with its huge leaks of classified US material.

The Swedish case has divided world opinion. Assange and his supporters say it is being prosecuted for political reasons, something denied by Swedish authorities and Assange`s alleged victims, who insist it has nothing to do with WikiLeaks.

Assange, wearing a dark suit and a navy blue tie, posed for photographs outside the court on Tuesday but made no public statement. In court, he spoke only to confirm his name and address.

Bureau Report