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Thread: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied bail

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    Default WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied bail

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1827668/

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was refused bail by a London court on Tuesday after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest over allegations of sex crimes.

    The 39-year-old Australian, who is at the centre of a row over the release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, was arrested earlier on Tuesday by British police under a European Arrest Warrant after he appeared by appointment at a police station.

    Mr. Assange, who denies the allegations, was remanded in custody until December 14.

    Judge Howard Riddle told Mr. Assange that he had “substantial grounds” to believe he wouldn't turn up for subsequent proceedings. Judge Riddle then put Mr. Assange into U.K. custody ahead of an extradition hearing.

    Mr. Assange has been accused by two women in Sweden. He faces rape and sexual molestation allegations in one case and sexual molestation and unlawful coercion in the other. Mr. Assange denies the allegations.

    His British lawyer Mark Stephens says the allegations stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex” last summer.

    Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has rejected claims by Mr. Stephens and Mr. Assange that the prosecution has political overtones. She planned to comment on the arrest later Tuesday.

    Mr. Assange's Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig said his client would contest any extradition.

    “He will absolutely do that,” he told The AP in a telephone interview.
    Mr. Hurtig said it was difficult to say how long the extradition process in Britain would take — anywhere from a week to two months. He said if Mr. Assange was extradited to Sweden, he wouldn't be kept in detention after he's been questioned, “because it's been for the sake of the questioning that he's been detained.”

    U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was pleased by the arrest.

    “That sounds like good news to me,” he said.

    Beginning in July, WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government by releasing tens of thousands of secret U.S. military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That was followed last week by the ongoing release of what WikiLeaks says will eventually be a quarter-million cables from U.S. diplomatic posts around the world. The group provided those documents to five major newspapers, which have been working with WikiLeaks to edit the cables for publication.

    In the past week, WikiLeaks has seen its bank accounts cancelled and its websites attacked. The U.S. government has launched a criminal investigation, saying the group has jeopardized U.S. national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.

    WikiLeaks has also seen an online army of supporters come to its aid, sending donations, fighting off computer attacks and setting up over 500 mirror sites around the world to make sure that the secret documents are published regardless of what happens to Assange.

    A spokesman for WikiLeaks called Mr. Assange's arrest an attack on media freedom and said it won't prevent the organization from releasing more secret documents.

    “This will not change our operation,” Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press.

    But Ms. Hrafnsson also said the group had no plans at the moment to release the key to a heavily encrypted version of some of its most important documents — an “insurance” file that has been distributed to supporters in case of an emergency. Ms. Hrafnsson said that will only come into play if “grave matters” involving WikiLeaks staff occur — but did not elaborate on what those would be.

    The campaign against WikiLeaks began with an effort to jam the website as the cables were being released. U.S. Internet companies Amazon.com, Inc., EveryDNS and PayPal, Inc. then severed their links with WikiLeaks in quick succession, forcing it to jump to new servers and adopt a new primary Web address — wikileaks.ch — in Switzerland.

    And on Tuesday, Visa suspended all payments to WikiLeaks pending an investigation of the organization's business.

    Visa's decision to pull the plug on WikiLeaks leaves the website with one fewer source of revenue.

    Swiss authorities have already closed Assange's new Swiss bank account, and MasterCard has pulled the plug on payments to WikiLeaks, according to technology news website CNET.

    The attacks appeared to have been at least partially successful in staunching the flow of secrets: WikiLeaks has not published any new cables in more than 24 hours, although stories about them have continued to appear in The New York Times and Britain's The Guardian, two of the newspapers given advance access to the cables.
    WikiLeaks' Twitter feed, generally packed with updates, appeals and pithy comments, has been silent since Monday night, when the group warned that Assange's arrest was imminent.

    With reports from Reuters
    Last edited by Slimprofits; 12-07-10 at 10:37 AM.

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