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Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI) media partner Mark Stephens was in City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon at the side of his client Julian Assange, who was denied bail in a hearing related to possible extradition to Sweden.
The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief was arrested at a London police station at 9.30am today by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit. He has been accused of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape by Swedish authorities. Two women in Sweden claim they were sexually attacked by Assange in separate incidents when he visited the country in August.
Assange denies the charges and claims the arrest represents an attack on media freedom after WikiLeaks released thousands of classified US government documents. However, he was this afternoon refused bail.
Stephens has condemned the allegations as a “political stunt” and said his client would resist any attempts to extradite him.
The media law specialist was contacted by Scotland Yard officers last night after a fresh European arrest warrant was issued by Swedish authorities.
Yesterday, The Guardian reported Stephens’ claims that he and FSI solicitor Jennifer Robinson were being monitored by UK security services. Robinson was quoted as saying: “I’ve noticed people consistently sitting outside my house in the same cars with newspapers. I probably noticed certain things a week ago, but mostly it’s been the last three or four days.”
Gemma Lindfield at 7 Bedford Row is representing the Swedish authorities.
The Home Office would not comment on the allegations.