(Ping! Zine) – After the 39-year-old Australian turned himself in to Scotland Yard this morning, Julian Assange was refused bail today and remanded in custody until December 14th, regarding claims of him committing sex offences in Sweden.
Assange told the City of Westminster magistrates court that he intended to fight his extradition. He was asked by the court if he understood consenting to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, involving two women. Assange said: “I understand that and I do not consent.”
He denies allegation, stemming from a visit in August. His lawyers have claimed the accusations derive from a “dispute over consenual but unprotected sex.” Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has dismissed those claims.
Afer multiple offers of £20,000 each from John Pilger, Ken Loach, and Jemima Khan and an anonymous offer of £60,000, District Judge Howard Riddle refused bail to Julian Assange on the grounds that these were serious allegations and he had access to a financial means with weak ties to the community and might fail to surrender if released on bail. Riddle did reject the prosecutions claim that bail should be rejected on the grounds of Assange’s safety.
Gemma Lindfield, of the Swedish authorities, told the court that Assange was wanted in connection to four allegations. The first charge was for “unlawful coercion” on August 14th in Stockholm. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” the woman by having sex without a condom after she had expressly aked on be used. The third charge accuses Assange of “deliberately molesting” Miss A on August 18th “in a way to violate her sexual integrity.” the final charge claimed Assange had sex with a second woman on August 17th without a condom while she was asleep in her Stockholm home. A previous European arrest warrant issued by Swedish authorities was not used by the officers as it was invalid since the form had not been filled in properly.
Appearing in court in blue suit with a white shirt, Assange was asked to give an address he replied: “PO Box 4080.” When the question was asked again, he said: “Do you want it for correspondence or for some other reason?” Later the WikiLeaks founder, who was accompanied by officials from the Australian high commission, gave an address in his native Australia.
Assange has been at the centre of an international attention since WikiLeaks released a huge cache of US embassy cables. Riddle stated in court “The sex offence allegations are a separate case. This case is not about WikiLeaks.” The site is facing increasing problems continuing to operate. Visa said it has suspended all payments to the organisation “pending further investigation”, while MasterCard states they are “taking action to ensure that WikiLeaks can no longer accept MasterCard-branded products”. Assange defended the leak of the embassy cables in an article in the Australian today, saying: “The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.”