Assange fears extradition to US

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said today he had no hope of a fair trial if he is extradited to the US.

The 39-year-old Australian believes the US is preparing to indict him on espionage charges because of the leak of thousands of diplomatic cables.



Currently wanted in Sweden for alleged sex offences, which he denies, he was released from prison on bail yesterday and placed under house arrest.



Asked today if he had confidence in receiving a fair and unbiased trial if extradited to the US, he answered: "Absolutely not."



A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice would say only that there was an "investigation into the WikiLeaks matter".



The whistleblower left Wandsworth Prison yesterday when a High Court judge upheld a decision to grant him bail before a full extradition hearing next year.



British lawyers acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities appealed against the original decision, made by a judge at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.



Strict conditions attached to his bail include residing at Ellingham Hall, a country retreat on the Norfolk-Suffolk border owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of London's Frontline journalism club.



Assange appeared confident and relaxed as he conducted a series of interviews today.



The former hacker said he was expecting further smears against him as soon as tonight, saying: "There's an allegation that the Swedish prosecution has leaked out selective parts of their file illegally."



But he said he was now looking forward to spending some time on the sprawling rural estate after his jail release.



"I'm going to go out into the country and do some fishing. It makes a very significant change compared to being in a basement in solitary confinement."



Meanwhile, however, he fears there could be an "illegal investigation" being carried out into him.



He said he had still not been given any evidence relating to allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Stockholm in August.



Certain institutions were "engaged in what appears to be, certainly a secret investigation, but appears also to be an illegal investigation," he said.



"We can see that by how certain people who are allegedly affiliated with us were contained at the US border and had their computers seized, and so on."



He added: "I would say that there is a very aggressive investigation, that a lot of face has been lost by some people, and some people have careers to make by pursuing famous cases. But that is actually something that needs monitoring."



He said his organisation had been attacked primarily not by governments but by banks in Dubai, Switzerland, the US and the UK and added that WikiLeaks was continuing to release information about the banks.



Assange added: "Over 85% of our economic resources are spent dealing with attacks, dealing with technical attacks, dealing with political attacks, dealing with legal attacks, not doing our journalism. And that, if you like, is a tax upon quality investigative journalism - an 85% tax rate on that kind of economic activity.



"Whereas people who are producing celebrity pieces for Vanity Fair have much lower tax rates."



Assange said he had support from a "large Washington law firm" and from "colleagues in California" but called for more help.



He said: "We need more, and not just at a reactive level."



Mr Smith said Assange had previously visited his house and was a good friend. He said he was convinced the Australian was not guilty of the charges against him and that he was allowing him to stay at his home as "an act of principle".



He said: "I knew Julian well and obviously it's a very contentious matter, and I love journalism.



"I felt it was important to make a stand and I was very concerned that Julian received justice, and I wanted to express my support."



He said he had not increased security at the property in light of his new guest.



Mr Smith added: "One's obviously conscious that there have been some very shrill statements urging people to kill Julian Assange which I think is very irresponsible.



"But we can't live in fear. I'm not prepared not to offer bail simply on some ungrounded fear for security.



"If the police fear there is a real threat of that I'm sure they will do what is necessary to protect me."

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine