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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today issued his first public statement since being detained in London. “My convictions are unfaltering,” he wrote in a statement released through his Australian mother. "I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them."
He also addressed the large finance companies that have given up on transferring 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,” he said, according to Reuters. Mr. Assange's supporters launched cyberattacks on the websites of those companies last week in retaliation for their refusal to process WikiLeaks donations.
His comments come as he is scheduled to appear in London court today in an attempt to win bail since his detention a week ago on allegations in Sweden of non-consensual sex with two WikiLeaks volunteers in August. The British district judge who heard his plea last week denied him bail on the grounds that he would be a flight risk, the Telegraph reported.
Assange’s British lawyer Mark Stephens says he is more confident in swaying the judge today. Assange will offer to stay electronically tagged and at an location known the police, he said, according to the Associated Press.
"I told him how people from all over the world, all sorts of countries were standing up with placards and screaming out for his freedom and justice and he was very heartened by that," she said, according to Reuters. “These massive forces have decided they’re going to stop him and they’re not going to play by the rules,” she said in an earlier Network Seven interview.
His arrest in London came days after WikiLeaks began to release troves of secret US diplomatic cables, leading many supporters to allege political interference in the courts. (WikiLeaks began posting the cables at the end of November.) Sweden had issued the European arrest warrant last month, but British authorities said it did not contain enough information for them to arrest him at the time, the Telegraph adds. Sweden sent additional details a week before the arrest.
Further adding to the charges that the arrest was politically motivated by the US and its allies, Assange’s lawyer Mr. Stephens alleged Monday in an Al-Jazeera broadcast that the US had set up a secret grand jury in Virginia to work on possible charges that could be filed against him, according to the Agence France-Presse.
But Sweden insists that its warrant is in order to investigate legitimate sexual offense allegations. As The Christian Science Monitor reported, the particulars of the allegations are hazy but could still stand up legally. (Editor's note: The original version used the term "charges" when it should have used the term "allegations.")