Assange says WikiLeaks work hampered

Jun 16, 2011 By JILL LAWLESS , Associated Press
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen with his ankle security tag at the house where he is required to stay, near Bungay, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Assange says his house arrest over sex allegations is hampering the work of the secret-spilling site, and his supporters accuse Britain of spying on him. The 39-year-old Australian has spent six months at a supporter's rural estate as he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of the rape and sexual assault of two women.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(AP) -- After six months under virtual house arrest, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange acknowledged Thursday that his detention is hampering the work of the secret-spilling site. His supporters accused Britain of subjecting him to "excessive and dehumanizing" treatment.

The 39-year-old Australian is living at a supporter's rural estate as he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over claims of rape and sexual molestation made by two women.

Assange's bail conditions require him to observe an overnight curfew, wear an and report to police daily.

His supporters released a video to The Associated Press condemning the conditions. In it, associate Sarah Harrison accuses authorities of treating Assange "like a caged animal."

British prosecutors, who initially opposed bail, say the strict conditions are necessary because the claims against Assange are serious and he is a flight risk.

Barrister and legal commentator Carl Gardner said that although Assange's freedom of movement is constrained, "he can move around, he can make public appearances. He is at liberty in the most basic sense of the phrase."

The video also claims police have set up near the house to record license plates of visiting cars.

Vaughan Smith, who owns the 600-acre (240-hectare) property in eastern England, called it a "pretty intrusive regime" and said three cameras had appeared near the property since Assange came to stay.

Assange, who roamed the globe before his arrest in December, told the AP that he had become "a fixed " for snoopers.

"It is easy to conduct surveillance against me and anyone I talk to," Assange said. "We take steps against this, but it is costly and time-consuming."

He said his house arrest had been "the single largest impediment to our work, with the possible exception of the illegal blockade being conducted by the major U.S. against us."

Some U.S.-based banks and financial services have refused to handle payments to WikiLeaks.

U.S. authorities are investigating whether Assange and WikiLeaks violated American laws by releasing tens of thousands of secret government documents, including daily logs from the Iraq war and classified diplomatic cables from U.S. missions around the world.

Prosecutors have convened a grand jury near Washington to probe the WikiLeaks disclosures.

"A lot of our resources are tied up in dealing with the situation in the United States and the grand jury and this Swedish extradition case and the banking blockade placed on us by Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America and so on," Assange said. "So, while we are still producing publications every day, a lot of those resources have been taken away to deal with these events."

On July 12, the High Court in London will hear Assange's appeal against a judge's order that he be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual molestation against two women. Assange denies the charges, which he claims are politically motivated.

He said that if he lost the appeal, he could go to Britain's Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights. He said he was confident he would be cleared.

"I feel that the Swedish authorities will drop the case," Assange said. When asked why, he replied only that "there are many players in the Swedish situation."

Swedish prosecutors did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UK court grants bail to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

Dec 14, 2010

(AP) -- A British judge granted bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday, saying he must abide by strict bail conditions as he fights extradition to Sweden in a sex-crimes investigation.

Judge says WikiLeaks' Assange can be extradited

Feb 24, 2011

(AP) -- Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in a sex crimes inquiry, a British judge ruled Thursday, rejecting claims by the WikiLeaks founder that he would not face a fair trial there. Assange's lawyer ...

Julian Assange UK bail appeal to be heard Thursday

Dec 15, 2010

(AP) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will spend at least one more night in a British prison, after court officials said Wednesday that an appeal against the decision to grant him bail would not be heard ...

Judge grants bail to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

Dec 16, 2010

(AP) -- Julian Assange will be freed on bail from a British jail, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday, rejecting an appeal by prosecutors to keep the WikiLeaks founder in prison as he fights an extradition request ...

Julian Assange back in court to fight for bail

Dec 16, 2010

(AP) -- A judge is set to decide whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be freed or remain in prison, as authorities appeal a court's decision to grant him bail.

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

17 hours ago

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 0