Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will appear in court today, fighting plans for his extradition to Sweden where he has been accused of sex crimes. Speaking out for the first time since his arrest, Assange sent a message from Wansworth prison asking the world to protect “my work and my people”.
Assange is being accused of sex offenses in Sweden involving two women. The charges apparently include rape and molestation in one case, and molestation and unlawful coercion in a second.
However the Wikileaks head has denied the charges, saying that the sex was consensual but unprotected.
Supporters of Assange claim that the charges are trumped up in order to exact revenge on the Wikileaks boss after his whistle-blowing site published thousands of confidential U.S. documents.
Assange handed himself in to police after an international warrant was issued for his arrest. Today, he spoke to the world for the first time since his incarceration.
Relaying the message through his mother, Christine Assange, who visited him in Wandsworth prison, Assange said that he would not falter from his mission, reports Seven Network.
“My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them,” he said.
“If anything, this process has increased my determination, that they are true and correct.”
Assange also stuck the boot into the companies which stopped processing donations to Wikileaks.
“We now know that Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others are instruments of US foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before.
“I am calling on the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks,” said Assange.
The Wikileaks founder is expected to ask for bail when he appears at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court today. He was initially denied this, despite the offer of surety from journalist John Pilger, director Ken Loach, and charity fundraiser Jemima Khan.
Protests are expected outside the court.