After receiving an arrest warrant for sex crimes issued by Sweden, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police and is being held in London. A statement from Metropolitan pollice read:
Julian Assange, 39, was arrested on a European arrest warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9.30am.
He 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.
Assange is due to appear at City of Westminster magistrates court today.
Assange has written an editorial due to be published in The Australian today. They offer a preview:
Mr Assange begins by saying: `In 1958, a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: `In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.’’
It goes on to say a few more things about freedom of speech; the `dark days’ of corrupt government in Queensland (where Assange was raised); the Fitzgerald inquiry; and it says much about his upbringing in a country town, ``where people spoke their minds bluntly.’’
It says that Australian politicians are chanting a ``provably false chorus’’ with the US State Department of ``You’ll risk lives! You’ll endanger troops!’’ by releasing information, and ``then they say there is nothing of importance in what Wikileaks publishes. It can’t be both.’’
Assange will release a video statement later today. WikiLeaks had threatened to issue an encryption code that would release all of the remaining cables, if Assange was arrested. But our sources say there are no current plans to do that.
Additional updates: Facebook says it will continue to allow Wikileaks to publish updates on its site. And Switzerland Post Finance, the bank that froze Assange's assets, has been brought down by hackers.
Demonstrators are planning a protest today in London at 1:30 pm.
Watch a report on the Assange arrest from al Jazeera, AFTER THE JUMP...