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WikiLeaks to Post Saudi Documents

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a placard during a gathering outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, June 19, 2015.

The transparency website WikiLeaks said Friday that it had posted 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia online and would be releasing around half a million documents in tranches of tens of thousands in the coming weeks.

The move followed WikiLeaks' release of U.S. State Department cables in 2010.

There was no immediate way to verify the authenticity of the documents, and there was no comment from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

Friday's release came on the third anniversary of the day that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for alleged sex crimes. He denies the accusations.

Assange has said he fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he most likely would face trial for one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history. Assange faces arrest if he steps outside the embassy.

According to WikiLeaks, it is publishing cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi embassies around the world, including "top secret" reports from other state institutions such as the Ministry of the Interior and General Intelligence Services.

"The Saudi cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbors and itself," Assange said in a statement.

WikiLeaks also said the Saudi cables provide key insights into the kingdom's operations and how it has managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower, including through bribing and co-opting key individuals and institutions.

The cables also illustrate the highly centralized bureaucratic structure of the kingdom, where even the most minute issues are addressed by the most senior officials, WikiLeaks said.

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