Sat, Dec 11, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Assange to get computer access in prison

The Guardian and Reuters, LONDON

Hundreds of Australians rally in support of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange outside Sydney’s Town Hall yesterday. Similar protests were also held in Melbourne and Brisbane in support of the 39-year-old, timed to coincide with Human Rights Day.

PHOTO: AFP

Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, has been transferred to the segregation unit of Wandsworth prison in London, where the authorities are planning to give him limited access to the Internet, it emerged on Thursday night.

Assange, the most famous inmate in the Victorian jail, met his legal team on Thursday after being sent there on remand when he was refused bail on Tuesday. Sweden is seeking his extradition over allegations of sexual assault.

Assange is thought to have asked to be housed away from other prisoners, who had shown a high degree of interest in him after he arrived. A source said other inmates had been supportive of him.

Assange’s legal team will attempt to secure bail for him from Westminster magistrates on Tuesday.

His solicitor, Mark Stephens, said Assange was “quite chipper — he seemed to be bearing up.”

In the wake of online attacks on corporations by pro-WikiLeaks hackers, Stephens said Assange was concerned that “people have unjustly accused WikiLeaks of inspiring cyber attacks.”

As part of a scheme called “access to justice,” prison authorities are arranging for Assange to be given a computer so he can work on his case. The computer will have limited Internet access.

Meanwhile, in a calculated dig at the US — whose cables described Moscow as a corrupt “mafia state” — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised Assange.

“Public and nongovernmental organizations should think of how to help him,” a source inside Medvedev’s office told Russian news agencies, adding: “Maybe, nominate him as a Nobel prize laureate.”

In related news, WikiLeaks said yesterday it had no links to cyber attacks on global companies seen as enemies of the Web site and neither supported nor condemned the online campaign.

A statement on its Web site quoted Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson as saying the attacks were “a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets.”

The campaign to avenge WikiLeaks against those who have obstructed its operations, calling itself Operation Payback, has already temporarily brought down the websites of Visa and MasterCard, and of the Swedish government.

WikiLeaks noted the attacks were similar to those it had received since it began publishing the first of 250,000 leaked US embassy cables on Nov. 28.

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