WikiLeaks Founder Gets Prison Time, Judge Denies Bail

By Erin Harrison December 07, 2010

The embattled WikiLeaks documents continue to come under fire: according to an Associated Press report on Tuesday, a British judge jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, “ordering the leader of secret-spilling website behind bars as his organization's finances came under increasing pressure.”

The report said that “Assange showed no reaction as Judge Howard Riddle denied him bail in an extradition case that could see him sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.”

WikiLeaks has been under intense scrutiny after it began publishing leaked confidential documents. It has been forced to rely on servers in Europe after Amazon booted them off of theirs’, under pressure from U.S. political leaders. Other service providers also blocked WikiLeaks from using their services.

The AP said that Assange denied the accusations and plans to fight the extradition, “while a spokesman for his organization said the U.S. diplomatic secrets would keep on flowing, regardless of what happened to the group’s founder,” the report said.

Prior to Assange’s hearing, Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesperson for Assange, told the Associated Press, “This will not change our operation.” WikiLeaks, in fact, released a cache of a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours, the AP said.

Although some reports say that WikiLeaks is being hosted by another service in Europe, according to a report from the AFP news agency, multiple media sources said that Amazon was put under intense political pressure to make the move.

“There were numerous reports that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, had put pressure on Amazon to stop hosting WikiLeaks,” TechZone360 reported. Lieberman issued a statement on the issue in which he said, “Amazon’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.”

Truth be told, WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based media organization and is subsequently not bound by U.S. laws that protect the press, as TMC CEO Rich Tehrani recently blogged. “Then again, in an age of electrons, any media company could easily make an argument they are U.S.-based – allowing them to publish a stream of damaging content while shielding themselves behind the very laws of the country they are damaging,” he wrote.

The AP said that Assange appeared at before City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London after turning himself in to Scotland Yard earlier Tuesday, “capping months of speculation over an investigation into alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden over the summer.”

Assange’s website, meanwhile, is under increasing financial pressure with both Visa and MasterCard saying they would block payments to the controversial website, the AP said.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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