WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has told Channel 4 News there is an “ongoing attempt” by the US to extradite him and a “clear abuse of process” by Sweden. It follows his release on bail in London.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told Channel 4 News he believes there are a number of forces “pushing together for their perceived mutual interest” to try to keep him in custody and get him extradited, eventually to the US.
He was speaking just an hour after emerging from the High Court in London vowing to “continue his work and protest his innocence” after being released on bail. He told a mob of reporters “justice is not dead yet” after thanking his legal team and the British court system.
The 39-year-old Australian is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences. Bail conditions imposed at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier this week included the posting of a £200,000 cash deposit, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000.
Assange spoke to Jon Snow by telephone live on Channel 4 News and described the long hours he has spent waiting inside Wandsworth prison.
He said: “Solitary confinement in the basement of a Victorian prison is not an experience I would gladly repeat.
“It gave me some time to read and to understand the situation I was in and to see myself very clearly – and what I saw was that I was quite confident about my position and very angry about the circumstances in which I found myself.
What I saw was that I was quite confident about my position and very angry about the circumstances in which I found myself. Julian Assange
“This is a complex case, there are a number of motivations at play – those include the United States, certain political forces that have to do with domestic politics in Sweden, probably personal jealousies… all these factors intermixed.
“Like any rare event it is the combination of all these forces pushing together for their perceived mutual interest.”
The 39-year-old’s lawyers have accused the Swedish authorities of waging a “vendetta” against him.
Mr Assange told Channel 4 News he fears a fresh attempt to detain him and have him sent to the US is imminent.
He explained: “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.
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. Julian Assange
“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 an any form to me. We still do not have the evidence – even in Swedish.
“This is a clear abuse of process – we have received intelligence that there will be another attempt to abuse that process in the next 24 hours.”
A spokeswoman from the US Department of Justice would only confirm that there is “an ongoing investigation into the WikiLeaks matter”.
Earlier this week at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court 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.
Earlier Mr Justice Ouseley rejected submissions that the risk he posed made it impossible to set him free. The judge said his co-operation with police suggested he was not “a person who is seeking to evade justice”.