Wikileaks founder Julian Assange 'buoyed by support'

Christine Assange flanked by supporters Christine Assange says she fears the US plans to extradite her son from Sweden

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been "buoyed" by the public's support since he sought refuge in Ecuador's London embassy, his mother has said.

Christine Assange said she had spoken to her son over the weekend and he was in "good spirits".

Mr Assange is seeking diplomatic asylum to prevent him being extradited to Sweden to face accusations of rape and assault, which he denies.

Police in London say he faces arrest for breaching his bail conditions.

His mother said she was hopeful Ecuador would grant him diplomatic asylum.

'Pandora's box'

Speaking from her home in Australia, Mrs Assange said she did not know why he chose Ecuador but added: "It's only my guess but I think it's because it is not a sycophant of the US, unlike Sweden, the UK and Australia."

Mr Assange's Wikileaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses.

Mr Assange, 40, fears if he is sent to Sweden it could lead to him being sent to the US to face charges over Wikileaks and that he could face the death penalty.

The Swedish authorities say they want to interview him about the rape allegations.

Start Quote

The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth and those countries with their snouts in the trough with America have fallen into line”

End Quote Christine Assange

Mr Assange, whose bail conditions include staying at a named address between 22:00 and 08:00 BST, arrived at the embassy in Knightsbridge a week ago.

His decision to seek diplomatic asylum followed the failure of a bid to reopen an appeal against his extradition to Sweden.

Mrs Assange said she understood Ecuador's President Rafael Correa had made sympathetic noises and would not be "bullied" but she had heard the US was threatening to withdraw billions of dollars in aid from Ecuador if it granted asylum.

She said the Australian government, which has not sought to intervene on Mr Assange's behalf, was "nothing more than a puppet" of the United States.

Wikileaks had opened a "Pandora's box" and the US would not be able to prevent uncomfortable secrets emerging, she added.

'Simple issue'

Mrs Assange said she had spoken to her son on Saturday from the Ecuadorean embassy and she said: "I haven't heard him as relaxed and comfortable as that for a long time.

"He wanted his supporters to know that he was feeling humbled and buoyed by the support that he was getting and was in great fighting spirits."

Julian Assange Julian Assange, who published leaked diplomatic cables, denies raping two women in Sweden

Five countries are now involved in a complex diplomatic saga but Mrs Assange said: "It's not complicated. It's a very simple issue.

"A legitimate, registered, multi award-winning media organisation and its editor have legally published the truth about the biggest superpower in the world and embarrassed them and exposed them for wrongdoing - war crimes, corruption and fraud.

"The case against him in Sweden coincided with the release of these documents and has no basis in fact, if you look at the evidence and the way the Swedish prosecution has run the case.

"The whole exercise has been set up to smear and silence the truth and those countries with their snouts in the trough with America have fallen into line. Ecuador, whose snout isn't in the trough, has not fallen into line."

Mrs Assange said she feared that a grand jury in the US had secretly indicted him already and that the rape allegations were simply a "holding case" to allow him to be detained in Sweden pending an extradition request from the US.

Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny said last week that she could not comment on Mr Assange's asylum application but added: "An application for asylum does not concern the criminal investigation in Sweden."

The Swedish authorities say they have issued a European Arrest Warrant and acted entirely within the law.

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