The U.K. Supreme Court agreed to consider WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against his extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.
A panel of three Supreme Court judges granted permission to appeal an earlier court decision to extradite Assange. The London-based court said it would review at a hearing in February whether a prosecutor is a judicial authority with the power to issue a European arrest warrant.
Assange has been fighting attempts by Swedish prosecutors to put him on trial in the country since he was arrested in London a year ago. The 40-year-old Australian is accused of rape over incidents that took place in Stockholm and Enkoeping in August 2010.
The issues raised in the case are of “great public importance,” the court said in an e-mailed statement. A two-day hearing was scheduled for Feb. 1.
The U.K. Court of Appeal rejected Assange’s latest bid to block his extradition in November and said he must go to Sweden to face the charges.
Assange says the sex was consensual and argues he won’t get a fair trial in Sweden.
If the Supreme Court rejects Assange’s appeal, he can still apply to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement on its website.