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US aiming to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Assange over diplomatic cables release

December 7, 2010 - Washington

US Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has reportedly authorised "significant" actions aimed at prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the release of thousands of diplomatic cables.

Holder, who did not specify what these actions might be, also said his justice department was examining ways to stop the flow of leaked cables.

"The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can," the Guardian quoted Holder, as saying.

His comments came as a Swiss bank announced it had closed Assange's account because he had given "false information".

Earlier this week, he suffered another setback when PayPal, the online payments service, had blocked donations to WikiLeaks and to a German foundation that raises funds for it following the release of 250,000 confidential US government cables.

However Assange had threatened to release many more confidential diplomatic cables if legal action is taken against him or his organization, adding that "over 100,000 people" had been given the entire archive of 251,287 cables "in encrypted form."

He is now reportedly preparing to hand himself to the British police possibly by Tuesday after a fresh European Arrest Warrant was issued by the Swedish authorities over rape and sexual molestation charges.

Mark Stephens, Assange's British lawyer, has said that his client is expected to voluntarily attend a police station within the next 24 hours, and would then appear in a magistrates' court.

"We are in discussions about him going to the police by consent," he added.


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