London, Nov 16: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange applied on Tuesday for Britain's Supreme Court to hear his appeal against extradition to Sweden, dragging out a legal saga that has already lasted more than a year.
His latest gambit comes less than two weeks after the High Court in London ruled that the 40-year-old Australian could be sent to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault by two women.
“The High Court has received an application from Julian Assange for permission to take the case to the Supreme Court,” a spokesman for the Judiciary of England and Wales told AFP.
On its Twitter feed, the judiciary said the High Court would “consider Julian Assange's application for a certificate of law of general public importance on 5 December.” Legal sources said a decision was expected on the same day but that it was not certain.
Assange has strongly denied the allegations against him, claiming they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks, which angered the United States by publishing thousands of secret documents.
He spent much of the last year under virtual house arrest since he was first detained in December 2010.
Assange has previously expressed fears that his extradition to Sweden would lead to his transfer to the United States to face as yet unspecified charges of spying.
A lower court initially approved Assange's extradition in February, but he appealed to the high court which rejected his challenge on November 2.
Assange made the application for the Supreme Court to hear the case one day before the legal time limit.
Under English law, the Supreme Court, which is the top court in the land, will only consider his appeal if his lawyers can convince the high court judges that the case is of special public interest.