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US mulls legal action on WikiLeaks
What legal repercussions does the Australian founder of the controversial website face in the US?
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 00:06 GMT

With controversy raging around the release of secret documents, what legal repercussions will WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, face? Assange is neither a US citizen nor a resident, so the extent of the reach of US law is in question.

Interpol called for the arrest of Assange as his site's dumping of secret US cables exposed deep tensions between the United States and Pakistan over nuclear arms safety.

France-based Interpol said that it had alerted all member states to arrest the 39-year-old Australian who is wanted in Sweden for questioning over the alleged rape and molestation of two women.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, called in Cameron Munter, the US ambassador, for talks as WikiLeaks' steady release of 250,000 US cables sent shockwaves around the diplomatic community.

Islamabad reacted angrily to suggestions by US diplomats that its nuclear weapons could fall into terrorist hands.

The hunt for Assange sparked by the Interpol request would likely focus on Sweden and Britain, where the elusive former computer hacker spends much of his time.

Ecuador's left-leaning government initially offered Assange residency, but Rafael Correa, the president, withdrew the offer on Tuesday.

In one of a series of defiant media interviews, Assange boasted that he was ready with a fresh "megaleak" that could take down a major bank, leading Bank of America shares to tumble more than three percent Tuesday on speculation.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports on what legal recourse the US government has in dealing with Assange in the wake of the embarrassing leak.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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