Sunday, February 19, 2012

Julian Assange

Julian Paul Assange (əˈsɒnʒ/ ə-sonzh; born 3 July 1971) is an Australian publisher, journalist, media and internet entrepreneur, media critic, writer, computer programmer and political/internet activist. He is the editor in chief and founder of WikiLeaks, a media website which publishes information from whistleblowers. The site acts as a conduit for worldwide news leaks, with a stated purpose of creating open governance.

WikiLeaks has published material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya, toxic waste dumping in Côte d'Ivoire, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay procedures, and banks such as Kaupthing and Julius Baer. In 2010, WikiLeaks published Iraq War documents and Afghan War documents about American involvement in the wars, some of which was classified material. On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and its five international print media partners (Der Spiegel, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian and El País) began publishing U.S. diplomatic cables.

Assange was a computer hacker in his youth, before becoming a skilled programmer and internationally renowned activist. He has lived in several countries and has made public appearances in many parts of the world to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative journalism. He has received numerous awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award, Readers' Choice for TIME magazine's 2010 Person of the Year, the 2011 Sydney Peace Foundation gold medal and the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. Snorre Valen, a Norwegian parliamentarian nominated him for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2010, a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Assange in response to a Swedish police request for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation. Assange voluntarily attended a police station in England on 7 December 2010, and was arrested and taken into custody. After ten days in Wandsworth prison, Assange was freed on bail with a residence requirement at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England, fitted with an electronic tag and ordered to report to police daily. Assange appealed a February 2011 decision by English courts to extradite him to Sweden, claiming the allegations of wrongdoing were "without basis". On 2 November 2011 the High Court upheld the extradition decision and rejected all four grounds of appeal presented by Assange's legal representatives. Costs of £19000 were also awarded against Assange. On 5 December, the High Court certified that his case raised a point of law of general "public importance" that ought to be considered by the Supreme Court. The question certified is whether a prosecutor can be a judicial authority. Supreme Court has heard the appeal on 1 and 2 February 2012. The court reserved its judgment, and its decision is expected within weeks.

No comments: