WikiLeaks founder Assange in court

WikiLeaks founder Assange in court

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard's extradition unit

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit.

The 39-year-old Australian was held when he attended a central London police station by appointment.

He is due to appear before District Judge Caroline Tubbs in court one of City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon, court staff said.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit have this morning arrested Julian Assange on behalf of the Swedish authorities on suspicion of rape.

“He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.”

A spokesman for City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Mr Assange must appear before 12.30pm, unless a judge gives special permission for a later hearing.

Police contacted Mr Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens on Monday night after receiving a fresh European Arrest Warrant from the Swedish authorities.

Mr Assange was mobbed by photographers as he arrived at court with Mr Stephens and the rest of his legal team. Speaking outside court, Mr Stephens said his client is “fine”.

Asked about the meeting with police, he replied: “It was very cordial. They have verified his identity.They are satisfied he is the real Julian Assange and we are ready to go into court.”

A WikiLeaks spokesman said the arrest will not disrupt the release of further leaked cables tonight. Speaking via Twitter, he said: “Today’s actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won’t affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal.”

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