Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden
Julian Assange, the 40-year-old founder and public face of the website WikiLeaks, lost his battle Wednesday to stay in the United Kingdom and avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sex charges.
Since the summer of 2010, when WikiLeaks began releasing reams of classified U.S. intelligence documents, Assange has stoked the ire of top officials in the United States and around the world. Some want him and WikiLeaks punished for what they call irreparable damage to global security.
Supporters contend Assange represents free speech at its finest. They say he is committed to outing injustices. Assange himself has remained stalwart that the information WikiLeaks chooses to release serves the public by exposing truths about secretive government decisions.
Days ago, when WikiLeaks announced it was temporarily stopping publication to raise funds in order to stay afloat in the wake of a financial blockade by banks, Assange said, “If this financial attack stands unchallenged, a dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic precedent will have been set, the implications of which go far beyond WikiLeaks and its work.”
Though his mother Christine raised him without any religious influence, she sensed that from a tender age, her son was led by a strong desire to do what he perceived as just.
Brett Assange, who raised Julian from age one and gave him his surname, says he was “a very bright boy with a keen sense of right and wrong. …He always stood up for the underdog. I remember that, like with his school friends. He was always very angry about people ganging up on other people. He had a really good sense of equality and equity.”
Driven by the conviction of an activist and the curiosity of a journalist, Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He slept little and sometimes forgot to eat. He hired staff and enlisted the help of volunteers. Always, he protected his sources, never discussing where information came from.