Wikileaks: Julian Assange Arrested, Denied Bail

Photo by Rousseau/AP
December 8, 2010

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London, England early yesterday morning on charges that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden. The judge denied him bail because of "weak community ties and his means and ability to abscond." It was reported that there was no record of his entry to England, that he displayed an unwillingness to co-operate by refusing to be photographed, fingerprinted or give a DNA sample on arrest, according to Sweden's prosecutor Gemma Linfield.

Assange will be held in Wandsworth prison until December 14th when the court will review his case.

His attorney claimed that the arrest was politically motivated. The arrest came after Sweden issued a warrant through Interpol. The Guardian reported:
Assange is wanted in connection with four allegations including of rape and molestation.

Gemma Lindfield, for the Swedish prosecutors, said the first involved complainant A, who said she was the victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used.

The third charge claimed Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on 18 August "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity". The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

Lindfield argued there was a "high risk of flight" because of Assange's "lifestyle, connections and potential assets".
NPR explains Sweden's liberal rape laws and his connection to the two women.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that a group of loyal Assange hackers that call themselves "Anonymous" has been accused of cyber attacks on sites that turned against Wikileaks. The attacked sites include:
Mastercard.com, which had stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks; Amazon.com, which revoked server space from the group; the online payment service PayPal, which cut off its commercial cooperation, and the lawyer representing the two Swedish women who have accused Mr. Assange in the sex case. The hackers also accused Visa of stopping the processing of donations for Wikileaks, and Visa.com was also affected.
Late today the Dutch internet site that was responsible for the attacks had been shut down.

Wikileaks raises the question of where to draw the line in the public's right to know and protection of a government's classified materials.

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