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11 December 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 6:01am

Assange faces possible US indictment

Plus: rival site to WikiLeaks set to launch on Monday.

By Sophie Elmhirst

In a report from ABC News, Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson has said that Assange could face indictment by the US authorities under the Espionage Act.

Robinson said: “Our position of course is that we don’t believe it applies to Mr Assange, and that in any event he’s entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of WikiLeaks. And any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organisations in the US.”

Meanwhile, protests have been planned around the world in defence of Assange, who is still in detention at Wandsworth Prison in London. Demonstrations calling for his release are happening today in Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru.

In yet another twist to the story, the LA Times reported yesterday that a rival to WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, is due to launch on Monday. The site is run by original WikiLeaks staff members who resigned because of Assange’s controversial methods. The crucial difference between the two organisations is that OpenLeaks will not publish information on its own, but will only make it available for others to publish.

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In a statement, OpenLeaks organisers said their purpose was to be “without a political agenda except from the dissemination of information to the media, the public, non-profit organisations, trade and union organisations and other participating groups”.