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Julian Assange asks top UK court to reopen case

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has asked Britain's Supreme Court to reopen his extradition case, an unusual legal maneuver aimed at blocking his removal to Sweden.

British Supreme Court spokesman Ben Wilson confirmed Tuesday that papers had been lodged in the high-profile case, which has dragged on for the better part of two years.

The move was expected. The Supreme Court rejected Assange's last-ditch appeal against extradition to Sweden last month, but lawyer Dinah Rose stood up after the verdict was read out to complain that justices relied on evidence that attorneys for the Australian computer expert had not had the chance to properly cross-examine.

Reopening a Supreme Court case after a ruling has been made is virtually unheard-of, and legal experts here say it would be a major embarrassment for Britain's most senior judges.

"It would be very damaging for their reputation," Julian Knowles, a lawyer with London's Matrix Chambers, told The Associated Press late last month.

The justices could choose to reject Assange's challenge. If they agree to reopen the case, they could ask both sides to offer written submissions or hold a new hearing.

Wilson, the court spokesman, said he couldn't give a timescale for any eventual decision.

Assange, 40, is wanted in Sweden over allegations of rape and molestation stemming from a visit to the Scandinavian country in mid-2010. He has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.