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Date set for Assange hearing in UK
WikiLeaks' founder to face full hearing on February 7 over Swedish request for his extradition for alleged sex crimes
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2011 14:59 GMT
WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange has been under 'hi-tech house arrest' since being granted bail by UK court [Reuters]

A UK court has set a date next month for WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange to appear for a full hearing over Sweden's efforts to extradite him for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

Assange briefly appeared at London's Belmarsh Magistrates' Court on Tuesday where a date of February 7 was decided for the full hearing where lawyers will draw the battle lines in his fight to avoid extradition.

Speaking outside the court, Assange promised to hasten the release of additional US diplomatic cables and data that have infuriated Washington.

"Our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated and we are stepping up our publishing for matters related to cablegate and other materials. Those will shortly be appearing through our newspaper partners around the world," Assange said.

Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from the court in London, said: "Assange came out of the court saying that he was happy with the outcome of what has happened.

"He said his work will continue but he is still under strict bail conditions. He is being electronically tagged and is having to report to police daily, and he is facing the real prospect of being extradited to Sweden to face charges of sex crimes."

Arrest warrant

The 39-year-old Australian computer expert has denied accusations of sexual misconduct against two women.

British police arrested Assange last month on a European warrant issued by Sweden following allegations made by two WikiLeaks' volunteers.

Court documents filed by the Swedish prosecutor said that Assange was suspected of raping and sexually molesting one woman and unlawfully coercing a second.

According to his lawyer, the allegations stem from a dispute over "consensual but unprotected sex".

An international arrest warrant was issued at the end of November, but Sweden had to reissue it during December due to a procedural error that prevented him from being arrested in Britain.

'House arrest'

After spending nine days in a UK jail, he was released on bail on December 16 after his supporters raised a surety of $312,000.

As part of his bail conditions, Assange must remain for the most part at the home of a journalist associate in eastern England, abide by a curfew, report to police daily and wear an electronic tag. Assange has described the curbs on him as "hi-tech house arrest".

Earlier on Tuesday, Assange released a statement calling for the prosecution of those in the United States who have called for him to be put to death.

"No organisation anywhere in the world is a more devoted advocate of free speech than WikiLeaks but when senior politicians and attention-seeking media commentators call for specific individuals or groups of people to be killed, they should be charged with incitement to murder," Assange said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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