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WikiLeaks founder to meet British police over extradition, lawyer says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is arranging to meet British police after a Swedish extradition request, his lawyer says. Assange, wanted on allegations including rape, says foreign powers are leaning upon the Swedes.

Julian Assange

Assange plans to meet police in the 'foreseeable future'

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday that his client was arranging to meet with British police, who have received a request from Sweden for his extradition.

WikiLeaks on a computer screen

Some of the latest cable revelations are politically sensitive

"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," said Mark Stephens.

The lawyer added that the interview was expected to happen in the "foreseeable future" but could not give an exact timescale.

The 39-year-old is wanted on allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. London's Metropolitan Police received an arrest warrant earlier on Monday, a police source told the news agency Reuters.

Australian Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has caused an international sensation over the release of secret US diplomatic cables, denies the allegations.

The extradition request came after Swedish prosecutors reopened an investigation into the allegations, being made by two Swedish women. Assange's Swedish lawyer said his client believed Sweden was being influenced by foreign powers after the November release of the cables, some of which are politically sensitive.

Attorney General Eric Holder

Us Attorney General Eric Holder promised 'significant action against WikiLeaks

Authorities in Sweden said they had provided their British colleagues with all the information they had requested, following apparent legal hitches.

Significant prosecution authorized

US Attorney General Eric Holder said that "significant" action was being authorized by the government in Washington for putting the country's national security at risk.

Swiss authorities on Monday shut down a bank account held by Assange with the Swiss Post Office's banking group, claiming he had provided false information.

In France, Industry Minister Eric Besson demanded that WikiLeaks be banned from French web servers being used by the site. However, a French judge declined to force web provider OVH to go ahead with the closure.

In October, WikiLeaks angered the Pentagon over its release of nearly 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq war, which Assange said showed 15,000 more civilian deaths than previously thought.

In July, the site posted some 77,000 secret US files on the conflict in Afghanistan.

Author: Richard Connor (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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