Assange complains of unequal extradition fight
'Where is the equality of arms in this case?' Assange asks
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is complaining of the "unlimited budget" being spent by Swedish and British authorities in their attempt to extradite him to Sweden to face questioning on sex assault allegations.
"Where is the equality of arms in this case?" demanded Assange outside the Belmarsh Magistrate's Court in London after a hearing Tuesday. "Rather we see the unlimited budget of Sweden and the U.K. being spent on this matter and my rather limited budget being spent in response."
Assange, 39, will return to a British courtroom on Friday for the continuation of the hearing.
Judge Howard Riddle said that two days were not enough to complete the hearing, and lawyers will return to make closing statements, Reuters reported. The hearing, which began Monday, was to have ended Tuesday, and a judgment had been expected by the end of the week.
Lawyers have been given a half-day on Friday to present their closing arguments.
Earlier Tuesday, a former Swedish prosecutor told the court that Assange should be questioned in the U.K. about sexual assault allegations rather than extradited to Sweden.
CANADA IN WIKILEAKS
Sven-Erik Alhem acknowledged that the circumstances of the Assange case provided a strong argument for issuing an international arrest warrant and seeking his extradition.
But Alhem said his first choice would still be for an interview with Assange in the U.K. with Swedish investigators present.
Later, Assange's Swedish lawyer accused prosecutors in Sweden of irregularities and illegality in the way they built a sex crimes case against him.
An initial prosecutor "acted against the laws of confidentiality, telling one of our tabloid newspapers that Julian was suspected of rape," Bjorn Hurtig said. Prosecutors and police had leaked details of the case to the media, he said.
Assange is accused of sexual misconduct by two women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year.
'Flagrant denial of justice' possible: lawyer
On Monday, Assange's lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, told the Belmarsh Magistrates' Court that Assange risks a "flagrant denial of justice" if he is forced back to Sweden, which would be "blatantly unfair, not only by British standards but by European standards and indeed by international standards."
"You cannot have a fair trial where the press and the public are excluded from the court," Robertson said.
Rape cases are typically held in private in Sweden to protect the identities of the alleged victims
But the lawyer representing Sweden, Clare Montgomery, countered Monday that Swedish trials are based on the principle that everyone deserves a fair and public hearing.
The head of the secrets-spilling site has been accused of sexual misconduct by two women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year. He denies wrongdoing.
A judge is expected to rule on the extradition by the end of the week.
With files from The Associated Press and the CBC's Tom Parry