8 Feb 2011

LIVE BLOG: Julian Assange in court

The man at the centre of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, resumes his legal fight in court today, battling against claims of sexual offences in Sweden. Follow it all on Channel 4 News’ live blog.

Wikileaks live blog

Julian Assange may be tried for sex crimes behind closed doors, if he is extradited as Channel 4 News learns that Swedish press are “readying themselves” for his arrival.

The WikiLeaks editor has appeared at Belmarsh Magistrates, sitting at Woolwich Crown Court, in south London, to fight a request for a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) made by Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, Julian Assange‘s lawyer, earlier argued that because Swedish rape trials take place in secret there is risk of a “flagrant violation” of Mr Assange’s rights. A person accused of rape in Sweden is also unlikely to be granted bail and could be denied communication while awaiting trial.

The court heard earlier that Assange, 39, had offered to be further interviewed by Swedish authorities via videolink or Skype, but that this was turned down.

Read more about how Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is facing a ‘secret trial’ in Sweden

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London

There was a media scrum outside the court today waiting for Julian Assange‘s arrival.

Supporters mixed with hundreds of cameraman and photographers crowded around the outside of Woolwich Crown Court.

Some supporters were dressed in Guantanamo Bay-style orange builder suits and were waving anti-American banners. In the public gallery, Tony Benn, Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan were there to lend their support.

Tight security surrounds the case. The 39-year-old whistleblower is wanted by Swedish police over claims that he sexually assaulted two women while visiting Stockholm last year. Lawyers are expected to argue that he could then be extradited to the United States after being extradited to Sweden.

Assange has promised Wikileaks will continue to release documents and denies committing any offence.