WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
has said he will fight moves to extradite him to Sweden after he was refused
bail at a court appearance in London.
The 39-year-old Australian told
City of Westminster magistrates he would refuse to return to Sweden where he is
wanted for questioning on sexual assault charges.
Mr Assange was earlier detained by
Scotland Yard officers after he voluntarily went to a police station in central
Police contacted Mr Assange’s
lawyer Monday night after receiving a fresh European arrest warrant from
Swedish authorities, as anger grows in the US over the latest leaked embassy
cables by the whistle blowing website.
Mark Stephens, who has labelled the
move a “political stunt”, says attempts to extradite Mr Assange will
be resisted, “mainly on the grounds that he may be handed over to the
It’s important to remember that Mr
Assange has not been charged with anything, he only wants to be interviewed as
a witness, so magistrates may decide they’re not happy with sending him to Sweden…
Two women in Sweden have claimed
they were sexually attacked in separate incidents when Mr Assange visited the
country in August.
Mr Assange admits he had consensual
sex with the women but he absolutely denies the charges.
WikiLeaks, which has seen its bank
accounts cancelled and its websites attacked since releasing the US diplomatic
cables, has vowed to keep operating as normal despite Mr Assange’s arrest.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn
Hrafnsson said the website would continue with its plan to make more releases today,
Tuesday, and in the coming days despite the “outrageous attack on the fundamentals
of speech and the press”.
In an article for The Australian
newspaper, Mr Assange also defended his website saying it deserves protection
and governments around the world must not “shoot the messenger”.
He said: “Democratic societies
need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep