02/02/2012 15:00 GMT | Updated 03/02/2012 02:34 GMT

Julian Assange Must Wait For Supreme Court Decision

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must wait to hear whether he has won the latest round of a legal battle against extradition after a Supreme Court hearing on Thursday.

Assange, 40, had asked the UK's highest court to block his removal to Sweden, where he faces sex crime allegations.

A panel of seven judges today reserved judgment after hearing legal argument from lawyers representing Assange and Swedish prosecutors at a two-day hearing in London.

Assange, 40, hopes to overturn a High Court ruling that it would not be unfair or unlawful to extradite him.

A key legal question before the Supreme Court justices was whether a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against him by a Swedish public prosecutor was valid under extradition legislation.

The Swedish authorities want Assange to answer accusations of "raping" one woman and "sexually molesting and coercing" another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses, says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated.

In November 2011, the High Court upheld a ruling by District Judge Howard Riddle - who sat at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, south London, in February 2011 - that the Australian computer expert should be extradited to face investigation.

If the Supreme Court rejects his appeal it will mark the end of his lengthy legal battle in the UK, but it will still be open to him to ask the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to intervene.

Assange burst into the public consciousness in April 2010 when WikiLeaks released Collateral Murder - video footage of a US air crew shooting Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Assange left the Supreme Court building without commenting to journalists.