Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been remanded in custody pending a hearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
After the decision was announced, the whistleblower website vowed to fight on, continuing to release the private communications of US ambassadors each day, as it has done for over a week. It plans to target big banks and pharmaceutical companies in releases next year.
Assange appeared at the court at 1.30, having voluntarily gone to a police station in London this morning. He is accused of sexually assaulting two women, but denies the charges and has said they were politically motivated.
Wikileaks is being presented with major hurdles, as governments around the world feel increasing embarrassment about the private communications of their officials becoming public.
The site, which relies on donations from members of the public, faces financial difficulty after Visa and Mastercard this week said they would refuse to allow the public to donate to Wikileaks using their cards. PayPal has also stopped allowing payments.
In the court today, five people including journalist John Pilger and film director Ken Loach, offered sureties to support Assange. But bail was denied by the judge, who said Assange could flee the country.
The next hearing will take place on 14 December, the BBC reported. If the judge rules the arrest warrant to be legal, Assange could be extradited to Sweden to face the accusations in court.
According to the Guardian, after the hearing, Mark Stephens, partner at Finers Stephens Innocent and Assange’s lawyer, said outside the court: “Many people believe Mr Assange to be innocent, myself included. Many people believe that this prosecution is politically motivated.”
He added: “I'm sure that the British judicial system is robust enough not to be interfered with by politicians and that are judges are impartial and fair. I hope I can say the same about Swedish prosecutors in the future.”
Picture: Espen Moe
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