Video: Assange: WikiLeaks 'stepping up' publishing

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/11/2011 11:19:21 AM ET 2011-01-11T16:19:21

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to increase the release of revelations related to secret U.S. diplomatic cables after he appeared in British court Tuesday as part of his fight to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Assange said the website is "stepping up our publishing for matters related to Cablegate and other materials."

New revelations "will shortly be appearing through our newspaper partners around the world, big and small newspapers and some human rights organizations," he told reporters outside a London court.

WikiLeaks said in December that it planned to release documents that would point to "unethical practices" at a major U.S. bank.

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Following his earlier brief appearance in court, lawyers published an outline of the defense Assange will use at a full extradition hearing next month, in which they said Assange faced possible execution in the United States.

"There is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA," said the document on the website of law firm Finers Stephens Innocent.

"Indeed, if Mr. Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty."

If Assange ends up in the United States, the document adds, there is "a real risk" he would be subject to ill-treatment or even torture, both prohibited under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sex crimes allegations
The court also changed the terms of his bail conditions to allow him to stay at a London club for journalists before his next appearance.

Assange, who has protested his innocence over the sex offense allegations, sat behind a glass screen at London's top security Belmarsh Magistrates' Court during the hearing lasting less than 30 minutes.

 

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Swedish authorities are seeking the 39-year-old Australian for questioning on sex crimes allegations in a case that has divided world opinion. Assange and his supporters say the case is being prosecuted for political reasons, something denied by Swedish authorities and Assange's alleged victims.

The computer expert has infuriated Washington by releasing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and secret U.S. intelligence files on Iraq and Afghanistan and diplomatic cables.

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As part of his bail conditions, Assange must stay at a mansion in eastern England — except when he is appearing in court in February — abide by a curfew, report to police daily and wear an electronic tag. Assange has described the curbs on him as "hi-tech house arrest".

British police arrested Assange last month on a European warrant issued by Sweden following the allegations made by two women in Sweden.

After spending nine days in jail, he was released on bail on Dec. 16 after his supporters raised a surety of 200,000 pounds ($312,000).

Video: Assange: Manning a ‘political prisoner’ in U.S. (on this page)

Members targeted?
Ahead of the hearing, WikiLeaks released a statement calling for the prosecution of those in the United States who have called for him to be put to death after members of the organization were targeted by violent rhetoric.

"A civil nation of laws can not have prominent members of society constantly calling for the murder and assassination of other individuals or groups," the statement read.

Story: Politicians split on meaning of Giffords shooting

The statement drew a parallel between the vitriolic language that some believe led to the shooting spree that gravely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., and threats of violence directed at WikiLeaks supporters and representatives.

"WikiLeaks staff and contributors have also been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by U.S. prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin," the statement read.

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Also on Tuesday, Assange said that WikiLeaks was suffering from money woes after a slew of financial organizations stopped doing business with the website.

"We cannot survive the way things are going," he said in an interview with French radio station Europe 1.

WikiLeaks is losing about 480,000 euros ($620,000) a week as a result of Cablegate, he said in an interview with Switzerland's 24 Heures on Monday.

The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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