WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in UK

Assange, 39, was accused of rape, unlawful coercion and sexual molestation; WikiLeaks tweets that it will continue to release cables.

December 7, 2010 12:57
2 minute read.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

311_Julian Assange. (photo credit: Wikicommons)


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WikiLeaks announced on Tuesday via Twitter that the arrest of the website's founder Julian Assange will not affect its operations and "we will release more cables tonight as normal," according to UK daily the Guardian. Police say Assange surrendered to British police as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the latest blow to the secret-spilling website that faces legal, financial and security challenges. The release of an Op-Ed piece by Assange, defending Wikileaks, coincided with the arrest.

Sweden released a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, which allegedly occurred in August 2010.

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WikiLeaks' Assange may surrender to British police
My Word: Assange’s smoking gun

Assange was arrested on Tuesday morning and was due to appear at Westminster Magistrate's Court later in the day. He was reportedly accompanied by his British lawyers Mark Stephens and Jennifer Robinson at the time of his arrest.

As of Monday night, Assange had not been informed of the full allegations against him, Robinson told the Guardian.

Despite a US pursuit after Assange for the Wikileaks release of classified cables, claims that the sexual allegations against Assange are made up were strongly denied by one of the claimants, who was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "The charges against Assange are of course not orchestrated by the Pentagon."

Assange has been hiding out at an undisclosed location in Britain since WikiLeaks began publishing hundreds of US diplomatic cables on the Internet last week.

Also on Tuesday, excerpts from an op-ed article by Assange were released by The Australian.

Assange writes mostly about freedom of speech, and quotes Rupert Murdoch as saying: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.’’

Assange defends his methods and goals in the article, saying that American and Australian politicians are chanting a "probably false chorus [of] 'you'll risk lives! You'll endanger troops!'"

A Wikileaks spokesman said that the site will continue to leak documents, despite Assange's arrest.

The organization's room for maneuver is narrowing by the day. It has been battered by web attacks, cut off by Internet service providers and is the subject of a criminal investigation in the United States, where officials say the release jeopardized national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.

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