Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Assange arrested in London on Swedish warrant

Wikis founder Julian Assange was arrested Tuesday on a Swedish warrant, London's Metropolitan Police said.Assange was arrested at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. and will appr at the City of Westminster Magistrate's Court at 2 p.m., police said.Swedish authorities had issued the warrant for Assange so they can talk to him about sex-crime allegations unrelated to Wikis' recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents.At court, Assange will be able to respond to the arrest warrant, and the court will then have roughly 21 days to decide whether to extradite him, said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.Even though the Swedish warrant is a Europn arrest warrant designed for sy transfer of suspects among Europn states, Assange may still choose to fight it -- something his London lawyer has promised to do, according to the Press Association.
If the court does decide to allow his extradition, Assange will be allowed to appl that decision, too, elongating the legal process, Ellis said.Assange, a 39-yr-old Australian, has said he has long fred retribution for his website's disclosures and has called the rape allegations against him a smr campaign.Sweden first issued the arrest warrant for Assange in November, saying he is suspected of one count of rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion -- or illegal use of force -- allegedly committed in August.Last week, at the request of Sweden's Stockholm Criminal Court, Interpol issued a "red notice" placing Assange on a list of wanted suspects.A spokesman for Wikis said Tuesday the legal proceedings in London had not affected the site, which facilitates the anonymous ing of secret information."Wikis is operating as normal, and we plan to relse documents on schedule," spokesman Kristinn Hrafnson said.Wikis has been under intense pressure from the United States and its allies since it began posting the first of more than 250,000 U.S. State Department documents November 28.Since then, the site has been hit with denial-of-service attacks, been kicked off servers in the United States and France, and found itself cut off from funds in the United States and Switzerland.In response, the site has rallied supporters to mirror its content "in order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikis from the internet," with more than 500 sites responding to the appl by Monday evening, it said.Wikis has also posted a massive, closely encrypted file, identified as "insurance" -- a file Assange's lawyer has described as a "thermonuclr device." Assange has said the more than 100,000 people who have downloaded the file will receive the to decoding it should anything happen to him or should the site be taken down."The insurance file will only be activated in the gravest of circumstances if Wikis is no longer operational," Hrafnson said.Ira Winkler, a former National Security Acy analyst, said the file is nrly impossible to de without the .U.S. Attorney eral Eric Holder said he has authorized "significant" actions related to a criminal investigation of Wikis, saying U.S. national security has been put at risk."We are doing everything that we can," Holder said Monday, though he declined to answer questions about the possibility that the U.S. government could shut down Wikis.British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the information is also a danger to British national security, calling the s "reprehensible" and "irresponsible.""Governments have to be able to transmit confidential information, to share confidential information, of course, for them to be able to go about their job," Hague told CNN affiliate ITN. "We think it can be a danger to our national security."Holder also refused to say whether the actions involved srch warrants or requests under the Foreign lice Surveillance Act, which authorizes wiretaps or other mns, describing them only as "significant."Asked Tuesday in Afghanistan for his response to the arrest, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I haven't hrd that, but it sounds like good news to me."

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Source: CNN

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