Assange was arrested in the UK and is awaiting deportation to Sweden to face sex crime charges. Sounds shady enough. Many people believe the real reason for his arrest is the recent leak of sensitive U.S. government documents. The U.S. wants him, too.
Assange’s arrest has sparked outrage from many, because he has his defenders. Among them, Noam Chomsky, and UN Ambassador Frank La Rue, who recently spoke out in defense of Assange:
The United Nations representative for freedom of opinion and expression says he is now working on a new report on free speech and the internet.
Frank La Rue says he doesn’t think that the United States Government will be able to make a case against Julian Assange. But he warns it would set a very bad example for free speech if it did take action against him.
Assange, a journalist by trade, founded the whistleblowing website Wikileaks in 2008. Since the founding of the website, it has published over a million “sensitive” documents that have exposed corruption and human rights abuse by governments and other corporate types. It has also received many awards and praise for its Internet activism.
According to its wikipage:
WikiLeaks has won a number of awards, including the 2008 Economist magazine New Media Award. In June 2009, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange won Amnesty International‘s UK Media Award (in the category “New Media”) for the 2008 publication of “Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances”, a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights about police killings in Kenya. In May 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first in a ranking of “websites that could totally change the news”. Russia extended its support to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange by issuing a statement which suggested that Assange should be awarded the Nobel peace prize, in the aftermath of the United States diplomatic cables leak.
He is a hero among hackers, and people who think corporations and governments should be taken down a notch.