WikiLeaks chief arrested: British court rejects Assange’s bail plea

By AFP
Published: December 8, 2010
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A prison van believed to be carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates court in central London. PHOTO: REUTERS

A prison van believed to be carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates court in central London. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: 

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange was refused bail on Tuesday by a British judge over claims of sex crimes in Sweden, dealing a fresh blow to the website which vowed to stay online and reveal more US secrets.

Assange was remanded in custody until December 14 after saying he would fight his extradition to Sweden on suspicion of rape and molestation.

The 39-year-old Australian, whose whistle blowing website has enraged Washington by releasing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, appeared in court just hours after handing himself in to British police.

Filmmaker Ken Loach, socialite Jemima Khan, and campaigning journalist John Pilger each offered 20,000 pounds for Assange’s bail, but it was refused on the grounds that he might try to flee Britain.

“These are extremely serious allegations,” district judge Howard Riddle said at City of Westminster magistrates court, adding that Assange faced alleged sexual offences against two women.

“I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds to believe that if granted bail he would fail to surrender,” the judge added. The judge said Assange had “comparatively weak community ties in this country” and had the “means and ability to abscond if he wants to.” Assange appeared calm in court, an AFP reporter said. Wearing a navy blue suit and a white shirt without a tie, he spoke to confirm his name and address, giving an Australian PO box address.

The former hacker denies the Swedish claims. He says they stem from a dispute over consensual, unprotected sex with two women and that the accusations may be politically motivated.

WikiLeaks has said it would release more secret US diplomatic cables despite the arrest of its founder.

“Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal,” the whistle blowing website said on its Twitter feed.

A journalist working for WikiLeaks said staff was carrying on as normal.

“In terms of what is happening, all is on schedule, all that stuff will keep rolling out as ever,” James Ball, who has been analysing the cables for WikiLeaks, told AFP.

According to a Metropolitan Police statement, “Assange is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.”

The net has tightened around the Australian former computer hacker since his whistleblower website began releasing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables last week, infuriating Washington and other countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 3:33PM

    That won’t matter. He is now in protective custody, so he doesn’t have to worry about him being killed. Recommend

  • Mohammad Sohail Irshad
    Dec 7, 2010 - 3:55PM

    Democratic governments also can not bear the truth. This action proves it. I agree that people deserve to know.Recommend

  • G.Khan
    Dec 7, 2010 - 3:58PM

    @ Ali Raza
    Very well said Ali Raza. I am glad we have started thinking rationally than emotionally. You are 100% on target. Good Job. He is a CIA/MI5 Asset. You will never find him getting arrested in places other than those. Since he leaked ( So called leaked ) US secret files , he could not and should not go to USA otherwise the whole game would get exposed. So, in friendly custody. Now the Human rights, Dept. of Justice and under the slogans of supremacy of superior Judicial system he will be released or bailed or if some other twist, it will come to light soon. Recommend

  • KM
    Dec 7, 2010 - 4:10PM

    It will be MI5 in action now … England to ensure that it is the KING MAKER …Recommend

  • sashayub
    Dec 7, 2010 - 4:57PM

    are governments ever ‘democratice’?

    as for Assange, the more any government, European or American or other, tries to push the man to the wall, the more followers they will make for him….its high time the so-called democratic governments start putting their own house in order!

    i would also not be too surprised to find out (some 3-7 years down the road) that the leaks which ended up with Assange were part of a bigger deal, where he had actually been employed by various governments to hack leaks from other governments e.g. the UK government employing him to hack leaks of the US government, and the US government vice versa….him ending up as a double-agent type hacker getting all information from both sides…Recommend

  • RK Ali
    Dec 7, 2010 - 5:08PM

    another dramatic act…:PRecommend

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 5:10PM

    After getting cold shoulder from Poland and silent treatment from Russia ( he expected Russia to give him asylum), this doesnt come as a surprise. In fact, its a wise decision. People were getting frustrated, he could have been assassinated. Now he is in safe hands, he doesnt have to hire security, as he is getting one and that too, for free.

    I think he just want to settle the dust and face a trial. After sometime hes gonna lit the match again. Its getting better and better.Recommend

  • Sardar Alam Khan
    Dec 7, 2010 - 6:53PM

    @The only normal: You are right about your comments on him, however, you should clarify why you call yourself the only sensible person. It seems you are overestimating yourself, don’t u?

    Like the page guys, “I am a responsible and civilized citizen of Pakistan”, Follow the link
    http://www.facebook.com/IAARACCOPRecommend

  • Anonymous
    Dec 7, 2010 - 6:57PM

    arrestt and detention of assange is illigal,immoral,NON-human,and the action shows the fragile face of democracy in Europe,,,a brave man is arrested just to protect their evil actions of all involved world elite class………….Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 6:58PM

    @ Freedom of speech and there is no freedom of speech in the US and EU. We have to support the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because he tell 99.9999 percent truth which is not in favor of US and EU. They support people who speak in favor of them.Recommend

  • Mulla Toofhan
    Dec 7, 2010 - 7:12PM

    Even the Great Democracy of West cannot handle the. “Truth”. It must be hurting bad. Who are you gonna arrest next the Queen. Shame on Europe and their rulers for stooping so lowRecommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2010 - 7:12PM

    Truth is a good thing, but not always. This guy has put many lives in real danger. For example, disclosing the names and locations of undercover agents, spies, troop movements and their locations, war tactics etc.Recommend

  • Noor
    Dec 7, 2010 - 7:46PM

    Faiz’ would have said:

    زبان پہ قفل لگی ہے تو کیا کہ رکھ دی ہے
    ھر ایک حلقه زنجیر میں زبان میں نے

    Who can arrest a thought?Recommend

  • There is no winng with some people
    Dec 7, 2010 - 8:55PM

    Wow! So Mr. Assange really does get the worst of both worlds. Here he is a MI5/CIA agent and in America he is called by Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has described Mr Assange as “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands”. Wow – an anti anti american thenRecommend

  • Dec 7, 2010 - 9:06PM

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not be easily handed over to united States as the procedure of extradition is complex and pains taking and a certain safeguards are ensured by a court of law before one is handed over to another state. Though action on European warrants of arrest is quick but still it may take weeks if not months for the courts at first instance to decide whether Julian may be extradited to Sweden for questioning, or Police may ask questions in UK and if charged, and indicted, will he get a fair hearing, where he is not tortured and or hanged (if convicted) and addressing his risks of handing over to third states i.e USA on the basis of political reasons. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will have an opportunity to be represented through his lawyer during all this process and he may bring challenges at the higher court(s), if disagreed with any decision on a point of law.Recommend

  • sid
    Dec 7, 2010 - 10:55PM

    How is what Assange did different from what journalists do every single day? He did not steal any documents – there are no allegations that he did. He merely made documents public that had been leaked to him by contacts in government. Is this different from the publication of the Pentagon Papers? Is this different from a journalist having an “unnamed source” or an “official speaking on the condition of anonymity”? Persecuting Assange is an attack on the freedom of speech. Recommend

  • Sam
    Dec 8, 2010 - 7:37AM

    Whereas allegations of sexual misconduct are ALWAYS serious & must be investigated in this case I am willing to bet it’s all bogus. Someone just needed to nab Assange somehow…Recommend

  • Mulla Toofhan
    Dec 8, 2010 - 4:31PM

    @ Nadeem.

    I presume you are talking about endangering the valuable life of the spies, solders, agents of the West. These people are not there to protect you but for their own interest. I guess innocent victims of western wars on Afghanistan and Pakistan by Drones and special forces is not valuable enough.Recommend

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