Julian Assange’s House Arrest Upgraded From Country Manor to London Journalists’ Club

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Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The WikiLeaks founder appeared during a brief, twelve-minute court session in advance of the hearing set for next month about extraditing Julian Assange to Sweden on sex-crimes charges. The hearing is set for February 7 and is likely to last for two days. Assange says he plans to publish an outline of his defense later today. (Perhaps leaking his defense strategy is a way to get around claims of hypocrisy when it comes to people exposing his secrets. Although, as Assange has argued, the difference in his case is that he's an individual and not "an abusive organization.") Geoffrey Robertson, Assange's lawyer, said that it would be difficult for Assange, who is serving bail under high-tech "manor arrest" in Norfolk, to get to the court on time. The district judge agreed to allow Assange to stay at the Frontline Club, a "media haunt," in central London during the hearing. Even if the judge rules in favor of extradition, Assange's appeal could stretch out for months.

The American press, meanwhile, is actively distancing itself from the idea that Assange should be considered a journalist, something Assange has never claimed. Outside the court, Assange vowed (again) to step up publishing documents related to "Cablegate and other materials," hinting at a data dump on Bank of America. Assange, who's been making this claim since 2009, is in danger of becoming the boy who cried bank leak.

Assange in court for extradition hearing [FT UK]
Assange in court for extradition hearing [Reuters]
More American journalists back away from WikiLeaks and Assange [Guardian UK]