Julian Assange tells Channel 4 News he fears there will be a fresh attempt to detain him and have him sent to the US, after he was released on bail yesterday.
In an interview with Channel 4 News the WikiLeaks founder indicated that he is concerned that the US is planning to indict him on charges of espionage.
“We have heard from one of my US lawyers that there may be a US indictment for espionage for me, coming from a secret US grand jury investigation,” he said.
“Obviously it is extremely serious, and one of the concerns that we have had since I have been in the UK is whether the extradition proceeding to Sweden is actually an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the United States.”
Read our Who Knows Who page on Julian Assange here
A spokeswoman from the US Department of Justice only confirmed that there is “an ongoing investigation into the WikiLeaks matter”
The 39-year-old Australian is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences, which it is claimed took place in Stockholm in August. The allegations include the rape and molestation of one woman and the molestation and unlawful coercion of another.
Outside court, Mr Assange said his legal team would be revealing evidence relating to the allegations “as we get it, which we have not yet”.
Speaking on the phone to Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow shortly after being released, Mr Assange spoke of his concern about being sent to the United States
“Let me make a clear warning. There is an ongoing attempt in the US to work out a way to extradite me to the United States – extradition is much more likely to occur if I am already in Sweden,” he said.
“Since this case has activated there has been argument time and time again that there is no need to present any evidence whatsoever.
“Rape is what the allegation is – let’s see the evidence. There has never been a single page provided to me in any form to me. We still do not have the evidence – even in Swedish.”
Conditions of bail
Earlier this week at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Mr Assange was granted bail pending the bid to extradite him to Sweden. But he remained in prison while the authorities challenged his release at the High Court in London, arguing that there was “a real risk” he would abscond. Bail conditions imposed included the posting of a £200,000 cash deposit, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000.
In court yesterday, Mr Justice Ouseley rejected submissions that the risk posed by Mr Assange made it impossible for him to be set free. The judge said the fact Julian Assange had co-operated with police suggested he was not “a person who is seeking to evade justice”.
One of the concerns that we have had since I have been in the UK is whether the extradition proceeding to Sweden is actually an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the United States, Julian Assange
Another condition of his bail is that he remains at the home of journalist Vaughan Smith in Suffolk. Mr Smith told Channel 4 News why he was offering Assange his home. “Although the issues raised by the arrest warrant are very contentious, I think it is helpful for people who think they can take a public position to do so,” he said.
“I do think that the revelations from WikiLeaks will help us to be better governed in the long-term. And I have not spoken to anyone in a while who thinks we are well governed.
“In Britain, we believe we are a tolerant society, and I think our tolerance is judged by the manner in which we deal with people we don’t necessarily agree with, as well as those we do. When we are dealing with something controversial, we have to be even more careful that we behave in the tolerant way that many in our country feel we should be.
“I got to know Julian well over the last five months. As a journalist, I felt it is important to take a position on this issue. I think that Julian holds up a mirror that journalists like myself can look into, and perhaps we don’t always like what we see. I think journalism is getting closer to power and to the establishment than we have realised.”
Read more from Vaughan Smith about why he is offering Julian Assange a place to stay here