After the party, extradition fight begins for WikiLeaks founder

Civil rights demonstrators will gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice this morning to support the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is fighting a last-ditch battle to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Internet users believed to be linked to the hackers' network Anonymous are also threatening to create havoc with police computers, in what appears to be a planned revenge for the threat to extradite Assange.

A message posted yesterday on Twitter from an account under the name Anonymous Sabu, whose feed has over 7,000 followers, warned: "We are working on two of the biggest releases for Anonymous in the last four years. Put your helmets on. It is war."

It would appear the group is threatening to release hacked data.

Later messages added: "Everyone brace. This is literally explosive," and "get ready for the truth." And another, addressed to the "intelligence community", warned: "Your contractors have failed you. Tomorrow is the beginning."

The demonstrations and online threats reflect a widely shared suspicion that there is a political motive behind allegations of sexual assault on two women made against Assange after a visit to Sweden in August.

Since December, the WikiLeaks founder has been living under house arrest in Effingham Hall, the Norfolk mansion of the journalist Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club, where Assange threw a lavish party with an A-list celebrity guest list at the weekend to mark his 40th birthday.

The invitation told guests: "You can charter a private plane to Norwich International Airport which has a private air strip and is a half-hour taxi journey from Ellingham Hall, or alternatively you can land helicopters on the Ellingham Hall property on the field in the north-west quadrant of this map."

However, there were no reported sightings of helicopters landing anywhere near Effingham Hall, and the biggest names on the guest list, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, did not turn up.

Craig Murray, the human rights activist and former ambassador to Uzbekistan, blogged about the event just before he set out for it by train. He wrote: "I am going because I think WikiLeaks do essential work and because I think Julian is an extraordinary man and is being stitched up... Nonetheless, I worry that the amusing fact that the invitation tells you where to land your private jet or helicopter, actually is an indication of where WikiLeaks is going wrong."

Swedish police want to question Assange about his relations with two women during a visit to the country last August. He denies sexual assault.

His supporters believe he is the victim of a US government vendetta in retaliation for the publication on WikiLeaks of more than 250,000 secret diplomatic dispatches. The only person charged with any offence over the leak is US Army Private Bradley Manning, who is being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, awaiting trial.

Assange's supporters have been alarmed by comments made by leading US politicians such as Sarah Palin, who called on Facebook for him to be "pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qa'ida and Taliban leaders".

In January, Assange's legal team claimed in court that he was in danger of being sent to Guantanamo Bay or even executed if he were handed over to the US authorities. He has since appointed a new legal team and will be represented by human rights lawyers Gareth Peirce and Ben Emmerson.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Account Managers - Radio

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Cheshire's number 1 commercial ...

Recruitment Genius: Software Support Analyst

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a career in custome...

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Recruitment Genius: 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Engineer - Managed Services Provider

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 2nd / 3rd Line IT Support Eng...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot