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By Diane Alter
Wikileaks' Julian Assange will be able to ask the U.K. Supreme Court to block his extradition to Sweden after an appeals judge said the clarification of a legal issue in the case would benefit the public.
Assange's lawyers argued successfully that British citizens wold benefit from a final ruling on whether prosecutors (as opposed to judges) have authority to issue European arrest warrants.
Assange maintains his warrant is invalid because the Swedish prosecutor who issued it is not a "judicial authority," as required under law for Europe's shared warrant system.
The appeals court agreed the question is important, but denied the WikiLeaks founder permission to automatically challenge its Nov. 2 ruling that the 40-year old Australian return to Sweden to face rape allegations.
As a result, Britain's top court must decide for itself if it should take the case.
Assange was arrested a year ago in London. He is accused of failing to use a condom in one incident, and of having sex with a sleeping woman in another incident.
The alleged misconduct came as the anti-secrecy website was being condemned by U.S. authorities for posting thousands of classified military and diplomatic complications. Assange, as a result, argues that that his current case is politically motivated
Assange's alleged crimes took place in August 2010 in Stockholm and Enkoeping, Sweden, where Assange was lecturing to supporters about publishing the confidential U.S. documents. Assagne was invited to stay with the women in their apartment, and he maintains the sex was consensual.
In October, WikiLeaks suspended its operations to raise money. The site said it was facing a "U.S. financial blockade," after Visa Europe, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal halted payments to the site.
Assange, a native of Australia, began his infamous career as a computer hacker. He has been under police surveillance at a friend's house in Suffolk, England, since being detained a year ago this week.