| Updated at: 0701 PST, Tuesday, February 08, 2011|
LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was back in court Monday for a showdown with Swedish authorities to fight an extradition bid over sex crimes allegations.
Media report the tall Australian arrived at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court dressed in dark blue suit and looking well-groomed and relaxed. He took his placed, arms crossed, in the court's glass-fronted dock, flanked by two courtroom guards.
Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said his client was fighting extradition because such trials in Sweden are usually held in secret. A trial behind closed doors would be "a flagrant denial of justice ... blatantly unfair, not only by British standards but by European standards and indeed by international standards," he said.
"You cannot have a fair trial where the press and the public are excluded from the court," Robertson said.
Assange is accused of sexual misconduct by two women he met during a visit to Stockholm last year. Defense lawyers argue that he should not be extradited because he has not been charged with a crime, because of flaws in Swedish prosecutors' case - and because a ticket to Sweden could eventually land him in Guantanamo Bay or on U.S. death row.
American officials are trying to build a criminal case against the secret-spilling site, which has angered Washington by publishing a trove of leaked diplomatic cables and secret U.S. military files. Assange's lawyers claim the Swedish prosecution is linked to the leaks and politically motivated.
Assange's legal team claim "there is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere."
"There is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty" if sent to the United States, Assange's lawyers contend. Under European law, suspects cannot be extradited to jurisdictions where they may face execution.