Judge denies WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange bail


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, back to camera, is driven into Westminster Magistrates Court in London Tuesday Dec. 7, 2010 after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant. Assange is appearing at the court for his extradition hearing for sexual assault allegations in Sweden.(AP Photo/ Stefan Rousseau/PA)

LONDON – A British judge denied Julian Assange bail on Tuesday after the WikiLeaks founder told a London court he would fight efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face a sex-crimes investigation.

The secret-spilling websites’ finances came under increasing pressure as both Visa and Mastercard cut off funding methods, but a WikiLeaks spokesman insisted details from classified U.S. diplomatic cables would keep flowing — regardless of what happened to the group’s founder.

“This will not change our operation,” Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press. As if to underline the point, WikiLeaks released a cache of a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours.

Assange appeared Tuesday afternoon at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London after turning himself in to Scotland Yard earlier in the day. He showed no reaction as Judge Howard Riddle denied him bail and sent him into U.K. custody.

Assange and his lawyers claim the Swedish accusations from two women stem from a “dispute over consensual but unprotected sex” dating back to August, and have claimed the case has taken on political overtones. Swedish officials have rejected those claims.

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