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Julian Assange under attack

Posted by lahar9jhadav on December 8, 2010

Police have gone to a street in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton, where a crowd is loitering outside a house believed to be the home of the son of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr Assange’s 20-year-old son Daniel is a university student and is known to live in the area.

He has received threats in recent days.

A number of police have been sent to the address to move the crowd on.

Mr Assange has been denied bail by a British court and is facing extradition to Sweden where two women claim he coerced them into unprotected sex.

Appearing in the Westminster magistrates court overnight just hours after handing himself in to British police, Mr Assange spoke only to confirm his name and Victorian address and to say he did not consent to being returned to Sweden.

As he faces what could be a lengthy extradition hearing, Mr Assange defended his website’s release of secret cables and hit out at the Australian Government for failing to protect one of its citizens.

In court to support him were filmmaker and journalist John Pilger, socialite Jemima Khan and film director Ken Loach. Each offered $32,000 as surety.

His supporters say he is being targeted because foreign leaders are embarrassed by the leaks.

"This whole case in Sweden is a political stunt," Pilger said.

"When the chief prosecutor abandoned this case – saw no worth in it – then it was only reactivated with the intervention of a right-wing politician in Sweden. It stinks."

Mr Assange’s extradition hearing is due to begin next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the embattled WikiLeaks website is continuing to release secret US diplomatic cables despite Mr Assange’s arrest.

Newly released cables reveal that two years ago Saudi Arabia wanted a military intervention in Lebanon to destroy the Hezbollah group.

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Julian Assange denied bail: audio

Assange refused bail in London

Updated Wed Dec 8, 2010 2:18am AEDT

Julian Assange

Julian Assange turned himself in to police. (Reuters : Valentin Flauraud )

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been refused bail and remanded in custody in Britain, after his arrest for alleged sex crimes.

The 39-year-old Australian faced the court in London, which was packed with members of the media, and was remanded in custody ahead of a full extradition hearing next week.

He was arrested overnight on a Swedish warrant over alleged sex crimes, which are said to have taken place in Sweden in August this year.

Assange told the court he would fight an extradition to Sweden.

The Australian High Commission is reportedly providing assistance to Assange, who provided a Victorian address to the court.

His arrest follows his website’s release of hundreds of thousands of United States diplomatic cables, which have angered world leaders and left US authorities trying to find a way to indict him.

As he faces what could be a lengthy extradition to Sweden, Assange has defended his website’s release of secret cables and hit out at the Australian Government for failing to protect one of its citizens.

In an opinion piece published in The Australian newspaper just hours after his arrest, Assange said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had not responded to threats against him.

"The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings," he wrote.

"Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel?

"One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality.

"The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not."

Assange says WikiLeaks has been unfairly targeted because it only has a short publishing history.

His Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, concedes it is possible his client could be extradited from Sweden if he goes back there to face the charges against him.

"He has not committed a crime but I cannot say to him with certainty that he cannot be extradited to another country," he said.

Meanwhile WikiLeaks, which has provoked fury in Washington with its publications, vowed it would continue making public details of the 250,000 secret US documents it had obtained.

"Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal," WikiLeaks said, according to its Twitter page.

The group says it would be operating as normal using people in London and other locations, and argues the pressure it faces was becoming a fundamental question of civil liberties.

"Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days," spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said.

"The attacks that we are under from companies who are bowing to pressure from the US government are outrageous and I see it a clear confrontation against the freedom of speech and press freedom."

Swiss postfinance, the banking arm of state-owned Swiss Post, has closed an account used for WikiLeaks donations and online payment service PayPal has also suspended WikiLeaks’ account.

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