Julian Assange (top) arrives at London's High Court Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Two women who accused Julian Assange of rape and sexual assault are "relieved" by a London court ruling Wednesday ordering the WikiLeaks founder's extradition to Sweden for questioning, their lawyer said.
"They feel a certain degree of relief," lawyer Claes Borgstroem said after Assange lost a bitter legal battle to block his extradition to the Scandinavian country.
"It has been very trying for them to live with this uncertainty, especially since they themselves have found themselves attacked," he said, referring to allegations spread especially on social media that the women's accusations were motivated by secret agendas aimed at bringing down WikiLeaks.
Two judges at the High Court in London Wednesday rejected arguments by the 40yearold Australian, whose antisecrecy website has enraged governments around the world, that his extradition would be unlawful.
Christine Assange, the whistleblower's mother, called on Australians to put pressure on the government to secure guarantees that her son would not be extradited to the US, fearing for his safety, the Australian Associated Press (APP) reported.
"Now Julian's even closer to a US extradition or rendition," Assange told AAP, "It's now up to the (Australian) people to use their democracy or lose it.
"If they don't stand up for Julian, he will go to the US and he will be tortured."
Assange's Swedish lawyer Bjoern Hurtig meanwhile said he was not surprised by the verdict Wednesday.
"This was not unexpected, but it was of course bad news for Assange," he said, adding he did not yet know if his client would appeal the verdict to Britain's Supreme Court.
Assange has 14 days to decide whether he will try to take the case to the highest legal authority in Britain.