Swedish Court Confirms Arrest Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder
By JOHN F. BURNS and ALAN COWELL
In a telephone interview, Mark Stephens, Mr. Assange’s lawyer in
In a statement issued from its headquarters in the French city of
Also on Wednesday, WikiLeaks accused Amazon.com of ending an agreement to host its Web site. Amazon hosts the sites of many companies and organizations as part of its Amazon Web Services program.
The whereabouts of Mr. Assange, 39, is unknown, but the sequence of recent events suggests that if he had wanted to flee Britain, his last known location, without being arrested, he might have had to do so within 48 hours of the Nov. 18 Swedish court ruling.
A report in the British newspaper, The Independent, on Thursday suggested that Scotland Yard’s Serious Organized Crime Agency knew the whereabouts of Mr. Assange. He is said to be in the south of
Mr. Stephens, Mr. Assange’s lawyer, said his client’s arrest and extradition might not be imminent. “Given the procedural defects we’ve seen so far,” he said, “I’d be absolutely astonished if the Swedes were able to present a warrant valid in this country.”
The developments came as several newspapers, including The New York Times, published confidential documents obtained by WikiLeaks and made available from a mass of some 250,000 diplomatic cables from the State Department, including communications concerning American policy toward Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia and many other countries.
In a message posted on Twitter, WikiLeaks said its servers at Amazon had been “ousted,” adding that its money would now be spent “to employ people in
An hour and a half later, WikiLeaks continued the attack, saying, “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” WikiLeaks then posted a link to its donations page, with an appeal to “Keep WikiLeaks strong.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment about any business relationship with WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks site was inaccessible for several hours before it switched to servers owned by its previous Swedish host, Bahnhof, The Associated Press said.
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said Amazon had stopped hosting the WikiLeaks site on Wednesday after being contacted by the staff of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Staff members had asked Amazon to explain its business relationship with WikiLeaks, which Mr. Lieberman, the committee’s chairman, had criticized for publishing sensitive government documents.
“I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier, based on WikiLeaks’s previous publication of classified material,” the senator said in a statement. “The company’s decision to cut off WikiLeaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”
Mr. Lieberman called on any other company that is hosting WikiLeaks’s Web site to stop immediately, saying that its “illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world.”
“No responsible company — whether American or foreign — should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials,” he said. “I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with WikiLeaks and what it and other Web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information.”
The Swedish prosecutor’s office said almost two weeks ago that a court in
The accusations were first made against Mr. Assange after he traveled to
At that time, he said he intended to establish a more secure base for himself and WikiLeaks under the wide protections afforded to whistle-blowers by Swedish law. The organization already had strong support there, and used
According to accounts the two Swedish women gave to the police and friends, each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. Mr. Assange has portrayed the relationships as consensual and questioned the veracity of the women’s accounts.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said the force had received “no intelligence” that Mr. Assange, an Australian, was still in London, and that while the Interpol alert did not compel the British police to hunt for him, “if that intelligence comes in, or we have reason to believe that a person who has a Red Notice out on them is in a certain location, we will find them and extradite them as per the international rules.”
John F. Burns reported from London, and Alan Cowell from
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs