News / USA

London Court Denies WikiLeaks Founder Bail

Founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London, 23 Oct 2010
Founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London, 23 Oct 2010

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Jennifer Glasse

The founder of the website WikiLeaks is in jail in London after being arrested on a European warrant in connection with a rape case in Sweden.

A British judge denied Julian Assange bail Tuesday. The founder of WikiLeaks surrendered to police and was arrested on behalf of Swedish authorities in connection with a rape case in Sweden.

The Swedish prosecutor has said the case is not connected to WikiLeaks, but Mark Stephens, one of Assange's London lawyers believes the Swedish warrant is connected to the release of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks.

Related video report by Laurel Bowman:

"The timing of this has got to be related to the cables. We have to remember that the Swedes dropped any allegations of sexual misconduct against Julian Assange as long ago as September of this year."

Stephens says his client tried to meet with the prosecutor before he left Sweden earlier this year but she refused.  

Last week Interpol made public a red notice or an international wanted persons alert for Assange. Stephens has called the actions of the Swedish prosecutor persecution.

"She has been running away from him and has sent out stop notices, which are usually secret, and these warrants, all in the week that WikiLeaks is suffering cyber attacks and is also releasing the cables. And one has to, as a lawyer for Julian Assange, just think very carefully about the fact that Sweden was just one of those countries where a lot of extraordinary rendition flights went through."

Stephens was referring to the clandestine transfers of suspected terrorists the United States conducted with the help of a handful of countries.

Wikileaks has been under pressure since it began releasing 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables last week. U.S. officials claim the action has put national security at risk.

Assange is an Australian citizen and while the country's attorney general said Assange has a right to consular support, Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says the country is investigating whether a crime was committed in Australia.

"The foundation stone of it is an illegal act. Information was taken and that was illegal. So, let's not try and put any glosses on this. It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks, if there had not been an illegal act undertaken."

British journalist John Pilger is one of several prominent figures who vouched for Assange in court and offered to put up bail. He condemned the Australian prime minister's accusations.

"Julie Gillard had no right to say, to comment as she did, that what WikiLeaks has done was illegal. There is nothing illegal about what WikiLeaks has done, there is nothing illegal about what Julian Assange has done. He deserves the support of his government at his very least."

The U.S. State Department spokesman says his country is looking into whether Assange broke any U.S. laws and would not comment on whether America would seek extradition.

David Banisar is the senior legal counsel for the freedom of speech organization Article 19 here in London. He says he does not believe American Espionage law applies to Assange.

"There's no laws in the U.S. that would really apply to him in this case. Obviously his sources could be prosecuted under their obligations as government employees to not release classified secret information, but as a journalist-type recipient, no he can't be prosecuted."

A number of companies have abandoned WikiLeaks, including American Internet service providers, and online payment company PayPal and credit card companies Visa and MasterCard, main financial conduits for donations to WikiLeaks. Banisar says those practices are troubling.

"These kinds of companies are the middlemen to the Internet and if it turns out that the middlemen aren't very supportive of free speech, it really does undermine the right of free speech."

Lawyer Mark Stephens says Assange's detention will not affect the Internet site.

"I am advised that WikiLeaks can continue to exist, that a number of their operatives, they have many thousands of journalists in a virtual journalistic community around the world and they will continue. We are only [at] cable 301 today, we will see the rest of those 250,000 cables coming out so that full information is available."

Stephens says he plans to reapply for bail for Assange who is scheduled to appear in court again December 14.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid