The US Justice Department sent an inquiry to the UK for the extradition of journalist Julian Assange. The founder of WikiLeaks has seen a lot of tribulations lately. Pravda.Ru talked about the fate of one of the world's most famous journalists to Israel Shamir - a representative of WikiLeaks in Russia and Scandinavian countries.
"The arrest of Julian Assange came as a big blow to freedom in the broad sense of the word. Why did he go to England after all? Edward Snowden came to Russia, where he found protection, but Assange went to London, where he was arrested in such a derogatory way. How did he find himself in the UK?"
"When Julian Assange created WikiLeaks and started doing what he was doing, they went after him almost immediately. At first, he flew to Iceland, where he found a warm welcome. However, there were local problems there, because a major supporter of WikiLeaks, who was in Iceland, tried to take WikiLeaks away."
"For commercial purposes?"
"Yes, there was a personal attempt made to annex WikiLeaks, and Julian had to quickly escape to Sweden. Sweden was waiting for Assange with open arms, but he spent a very short amount of time there. Everyone was very friendly and hospitable to him, everyone was treating him well. The trouble came when two women came to police and said that Assange had abused them. All of a sudden, he saw newspaper headlines that were calling him a rapist.
"The storm did not last long, but Julian had to decide for himself where he was going next. He flew to England, where everything was fine at first. There was one man there, who owned a beautiful castle in Western England. A wonderful place indeed, I've been there. It was a perfect place for work, where he later received a big present from Manning. It was there where he got what they later started calling an issue of the State Department. He gave it a go, and it triggered a chain reaction. Sweden instituted a criminal case against Assange, and the UK issued an order for his arrest. They could have arrested him long before that, but it appeared that they were dragging time. They eventually put an electronic bracelet on his ankle, but he was still free for about a year or more, which was quite a long time. Yet, Assange could not leave England, and then all those temporary indulgences ended.
"When they started talking about an opportunity to deliver Assange to the United States, he asked Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for political asylum. Clearly, he could not even imagine that he would have to stay there for so long. He had lived there for a few years, and one day the British police dragged him out of that building. The future of his case is still dark."