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Terrorism & Security

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange arrested in London on rape charges

The arrest, on rape charges from Sweden, comes after Julian Assange warned that WikiLeaks could release key US cables if anything 'happened' to him.

By Correspondent / December 7, 2010

In this Nov. 4 file photo, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he speaks about the US and the human rights during a press conference at the Geneva press club in Geneva, Switzerland. Assange was arrested Tuesday morning in London on rape charges from Sweden.

Martial Trezzini/Keystone/AP/File

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Julian Assange, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, was arrested Tuesday morning in London on rape charges from Sweden, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing furor over WikiLeaks' controversial release of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.

The British Press Association reports that Mr. Assange is expected to appear in court Tuesday after being arrested by Scotland Yard's extradition unit at 9:30 a.m., according to a Metropolitan Police spokesman. The spokesman said that Assange voluntarily came to the London police station, where he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant from Swedish authorities for "one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010." The Press Association noted that the Metropolitan Police received an arrest warrant last month on the same charges, but the warrant was invalid because it was not properly filled out.

Sky News reports that Assange will probably be released on bail of between £100,000 and £200,000 (between $150,000 and $320,000), though it seems unlikely that Assange would attempt to flee, as he denies all the charges against him.

Assange's arrest comes despite his apparent threat last Friday that if anything "happens" to him or WikiLeaks, key portions of the WikiLeaks cable archive (only a small percentage of which has been published) would go public. In a Q&A with the public on the Guardian's website, Assange wrote that the cable archive "has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If anything happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations." The archive is known to already be in the hands of five news organizations around the world, including the Guardian and The New York Times.

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