Plans to meet with police, battles against extradition, closed bank accounts — just another day in the life of Julian Assange. Here were today’s big developments:
9:39pm: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court tomorrow after his lawyers said he would meet police to discuss a European extradition warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults, Owen Bowcott reports.
Assange is seeking supporters to put up surety and bail for him. He said he expected to have to post bail of between £100,000 and £200,000 and would require up to six people offering surety, or risked being held on remand. Once he turns himself into the police he will have to appear before a magistrates court within 24 hours, where he will seek release on bail. A full hearing of his extradition case would have to be heard within 28 days.
Read here the Guardian’s splash on the news that Assange is expected to be questioned by British police.
That’s it from our live blog tonight. We’ll be following developments live tomorrow morning.
9:23pm: The net appears to be closing on Julian Assange. The US attorney general tonight compounded a week of intense diplomatic pressure on Assange and WikiLeaks when he warned: “We are looking at all the things we can do to try to stem the flow of this information.”
The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill and Sam Jones report:
“The US attorney general, speaking at a press conference in Washington, said: “The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can.”
9:14pm: Mark Stephens, Assange’s London-based lawyer, yesterday denounced the Swedish extradition warrant as a “political stunt”.
Tonight Stephens said: “We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer that is needed.”
9:01pm: Scotland Yard received a fresh European arrest warrant earlier today, issued by authorities in Sweden where Assange is wanted for questioning on allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.
The Swedish prosecution authority at first opened, then dropped and then re-opened the investigation of allegations by two Swedish women. Assange denies the allegations.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer has said his client believed foreign powers were influencing Sweden.
8:49pm: In a live question and answer session with Guardian readers on Friday, Assange said:
“The Cable Gate archive has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically.
“Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations. History will win. The world will be elevated to a better place. Will we survive? That depends on you.”
8.24pm: This just in from Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s correspondent in Washington:
“International pressure on Julian Assange intensified tonight as the US attorney general, Eric Holder, disclosed that he had authorised “significant” actions aimed at prosecuting the WikiLeaks founder over the release of thousands of diplomatic cables.”
The US attorney general, speaking at a press conference in Washington, said: “The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can.”
Asked if he might mount a prosecution under the Espionage Act, Holder said: “That is certainly something that might play a role, but there are other statutes, other tools at our disposal.”
8:22pm: Assange is also under investigation by Australian authorities, following the WikiLeaks release of 250,000 diplomatic cables.
The country’s foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, said on Saturday: “The federal police was asked by the Australian attorney general some days ago to investigate whether or not Assange has breached any element of the Australian criminal law.”
8:15pm: Mark Stephens, the London-based lawyer who respresents 39-year-old Assange, says he will fight any move to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.
Stephens told BBC News today: “Late this afternoon after close of business I got a call from the police who said that they had received an extradition request from Sweden.
“Their request is to interview Julian Assange. He’s not been charged with anything.
“We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer that is needed.”
The interview will happen in the “foreseeable future”, Stephens said.
8:09pm: Julian Assange tonight agreed to meet police in the UK, according to WikiLeaks lawyers.
Jennifer Robinson, a solicitor with Finers Stephens Innocent which represents Assange, said this evening: “We have a received an arrest warrant [related to allegations in Sweden]. The police have been in touch. They have contacted us. We are negotiating with them. We are negotiating a meeting with police.”
Swedish prosecutors have sent an international arrest warrant to the Met, seeking the extradition of Assange for questioning on allegations – which he strongly denies – of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.
Assange, who is staying in Britain, has come under criticism from politicians in the US and around the world after his site started publishing excerpts from a cache of more than 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables last week.
The Swiss bank account of the Australian former computer hacker was today closed by the PostFinance bank. “The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process,” the bank said in a statement.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.