WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appear in court today for a hearing concerning his refusal to be extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for alleged sex crimes.
Assange’s previous court appearances have been chaotic, with protests outside courtrooms and dozens of journalists in attendance. Today’s sitting at Woolwich crown court in London is likely to be the same.
Today will be a preliminary hearing ahead of the full seven-day extradition case which starts on February 7.
Assange was released on £240,000 bail last month after being arrested for charges brought against him by two women in Sweden. The WikiLeaks boss is accused of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.
On of the women claims Assange had unprotected sex with her while she was asleep.
Assange denies all charges and says that the sex was consensual.
The sex crime charges came as WikiLeaks published thousands of confidential US cables. The American Justice Department is currently attempting to build a case against the WikiLeaks boss and have demanded that Twitter hands over personal information on Assange and four other key WikiLeaks supporters.
According to Assange, his extradition to Sweden is a pretext for the US to begin proceeding against him.
“One of the concerns that we have had since I have been in the UK is whether the extradition proceeding to Sweden is actually an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the United States,” Assange said.
Since being released on bail, Assange has been saying in a stately home on the Norfolk-Suffolk border owned by Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club for journalists in London.
Yesterday the WikiLeaks founder told Swiss newspapers he was thinking of moving to Switzerland or Australia. He has not asked Switzerland for political asylum.
Assange has just signed a book deal with Guardian Books to write his story WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy.