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WikiLeaks' Julian Assange denied bail

More US diplomatic cables released by website

Jamaica Observer

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 | 2:57 PM    

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LONDON, United Kingdom — A British judge sent Julian Assange to jail today, denying bail to the WikiLeaks founder after Assange vowed to fight efforts to be extradited to Sweden in a sex-crimes investigation.

Despite Assange's legal troubles, a WikiLeaks spokesman insisted the flow of secret United States diplomatic cables would not be affected. He also downplayed efforts to constrict the group's finances after both Visa and MasterCard cut off key funding methods Tuesday.

"This will not change our operation," spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press. As if to underline the point, WikiLeaks released a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours, including the details of a NATO defense plan for Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that prompted an indignant response from the Russian envoy to the alliance.

Assange turned himself in to Scotland Yard this morning, and was sent to the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in the early afternoon. He showed no reaction as Judge Howard Riddle denied him bail and sent him to jail until his next extradition hearing on December 14.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US troops in Afghanistan, was pleased to hear that Assange had been arrested.

"That sounds like good news to me," he said Tuesday.

Riddle asked the 39-year-old Australian whether he understood that he could agree to be extradited to Sweden. Assange, dressed in a navy blue suit, cleared his throat and said: "I understand that and I do not consent."

The judge said he had grounds to believe that the former computer hacker — a self-described homeless refugee — might not show up to his next hearing if he were granted bail.

Arguments during the hour-long hearing detailed the sex accusations against Assange, all of which he has denied.

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